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Does my spouse have to file for Social Security benefits in order for me to receive a spouse benefit?

En español | Yes. Generally, your spouse must file for and collect benefits before you can receive 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 submits a request for suspension after April 29, 2016.

Note that different rules apply for divorced spouses.  A divorced spouse does not have to wait for his or her former spouse to receive retirement benefits in order to receive ex-spouse benefits if both parties are age 62 or older and they have been divorced at least two years.

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