En español | Generally, yes, your spouse must file for and be collecting benefits for you to draw a spousal benefit.
However, if your spouse reached full retirement age and voluntarily suspended his or her benefit before April 30, 2016, you can receive a spousal benefit even though your spouse suspended benefits. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 changed the law, and a spouse cannot collect benefits on the record of a worker who submitted a request for suspension after April 29, 2016.
Keep in mind
- Different rules apply for divorced spouses. A divorced spouse does not have to wait for his or her ex to receive retirement benefits in order to collect ex-spouse benefits, so long as both parties are age 62 or older, were married for at least 10 years and have been divorced at least two years.