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Social Security is much more than a program that’s sole function is concerned with retirement. Social Security can also be a spousal benefit plan and an insurance plan for dependents. AARP's Social Security Question and Answer Tool can assist with practical, comprehensive information about how, in cases of death or divorce, spouses, ex-spouses and families could be eligible to receive benefits based on your earnings. Understand the ways Social Security can adapt to the ever-changing needs of American families, economically and structurally.
Enter a keyword to get all the answers to your Social Security questions.
Q: Can children who have collected survivor benefits during their grade school years continue to receive the money while in college?
A: Social Security will usually only pay benefits for eligible children until age 18. — Read Full Answer
Q: Can my children get Social Security benefits based on my work record?
A: An eligible dependent and/or child may be able to receive a portion of your retirement benefits when you claim. — Read Full Answer
Q: I'm receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Are the Social Security benefits my child receives as a dependent on my work record subject to tax?
A: The Social Security benefits your child receives can be taxed but are usually not. — Read Full Answer
Q: What are rules for parents to collect benefits on their children's record?
A: A dependent parent may be eligible for survivor benefits. — Read Full Answer
Q: Who is responsible for handling Social Security benefits paid to a minor?
A: If a Social Security beneficiary cannot manage their own money, a representative payee is appointed. — Read Full Answer
Q: How can I find out what benefits I would receive if I draw Social Security on my ex-spouse's word record?
A: To find out how much you can collect on a divorced spouse's record, contact the SSA. — Read Full Answer
Q: How can I tell if my former spouse is collecting a benefit on my Social Security record? If they are, will it affect me when I retire at 65?
A: You can contact the Social Security Administration to find out if an ex-spouse has filed a claim on your record. — Read Full Answer
Q: How do divorced spouse benefits work?
A: Divorced spouse benefits are based on an ex-spouse's work record, very similar to those of a married couple. — Read Full Answer
Q: I'm getting divorced. My husband wants the settlement agreement to say that I will never be able to get a divorced spousal benefit. Is that legal?
A: An ex-spouse cannot impact the benefits that you receive on their record. — Read Full Answer
Q: When I turn 62, can I collect a spousal benefit on my ex-spouse's Social Security record and then switch to the benefit on my own record at full retirement age?
A: If you claim benefits before full retirement age you will always receive your own benefit first. — Read Full Answer
Q: Will the benefits I receive as an ex-spouse decrease the benefits my former spouse and/or their new spouse receives?
A: Claiming will not impact the benefit your divorced spouse is eligible for. — Read Full Answer
Q: Does a widow(er) lose benefits if they remarry?
A: The age at the time of remarriage will determine if you can collect survivor benefits. — Read Full Answer
Q: I have two former husbands. I was widowed from the first and divorced from the second. Can I claim benefits on the record of either former spouse?
A: If you are single you can claim benefits from either marriage. — Read Full Answer
Q: I was married to my first husband for over ten years before our divorce and I have since remarried. Can I still get benefits based upon my first husband's earnings?
A: A person who is currently married cannot collect benefits on a divorced spouse's record. — Read Full Answer
Q: If my former spouse remarried and later dies, who is eligible for his Social Security benefits?
A: Both a current and former spouse can collect on a person's record at the same time. — Read Full Answer
Q: As long as I am 62 or older and have claimed Social Security, can my spouse claim spouse benefits at any time?
A: A spouse must be at least 62 to claim benefits. But by filing for early retirement, the benefit will be permanently reduced. — Read Full Answer
Q: Can I receive my spouse benefit at 62, and continue to delay my own benefit? I would like to hold off taking my own benefit so that it will be higher when I do take it.
A: If you retire early and your own benefit is greater than your spousal benefit, you will be unable to receive the spousal benefit first. — Read Full Answer
Q: Does my spouse have to file for Social Security benefits in order for me to receive a spouse benefit?
A: Your spouse must claim benefits in order for you to get a benefit on their record. — Read Full Answer
Q: How much of my husband's Social Security retirement benefit will I receive if I retire at 62 and he retired at full retirement age?
A: Spousal benefit reductions vary based on a person's full retirement age. — Read Full Answer
Q: I am in a same-sex civil union. Can I receive benefits based on my partner's work record?
A: On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states. — Read Full Answer
Q: If I apply for my own Social Security benefit before my full retirement age, but switch to a spouse benefit based on my husband's work record when I reach full retirement age, will it be reduced because I claimed my own benefit early?
A: Claiming early will permanently reduce both benefits. — Read Full Answer
Q: If I claim my Social Security benefits at age 62 and my wife waits to claim a spouse benefit at age 66, will she receive 50 percent of my full retirement benefit (which I'd be eligible for at full retirement age) or 50 percent of the reduced benefit I would get because I am claiming early?
A: Spousal benefits are always based on the full retirement benefit. — Read Full Answer
Q: If I delay claiming my Social Security benefits until after full retirement age, will my spouse receive a spouse benefit based on the additional amount I will receive because I waited?
A: Delayed retirement credits will not increase the spousal benefit your partner can collect. — Read Full Answer
Q: If I receive a spouse benefit, does it reduce the amount that my spouse receives?
A: Spousal benefits do not reduce the primary earners benefit. — Read Full Answer
Q: My husband and I both worked and qualified for retirement benefits. Can both of us collect our full amounts at the same time?
A: The family maximum only applies when multiple people claim on one record. — Read Full Answer
Q: My spouse and I both worked. How can we use the claim and suspend strategy to maximize our benefits?
A: The file and suspend strategy allows couples to collect a spousal benefit while earning delayed retirement credits. — Read Full Answer
Q: After my mother died, I found uncashed Social Security checks that had been issued to her. Can we cash them?
A: Federal law requires that Social Security checks not cashed or deposited after one year of the date of issue, void. — Read Full Answer
Q: Are survivor benefits decreased if claimed early?
A: Survivor benefits, if filed at full retirement age, are worth 100% of what the deceased worker was entitled to collect. — Read Full Answer
Q: Are survivor benefits reduced for a Postal Service employee's survivor?
A: Survivor benefits will not be reduced if you are receiving a government pension that is not based on your earnings. — Read Full Answer
Q: I am receiving survivor benefits on the record of my deceased husband. Can I receive spousal benefits from the record of my ex-husband instead? I think they would be higher.
A: If you are remarried, and the second marriage ends, you will again be eligible for benefits on your first spouse's record. — Read Full Answer
Q: I didn't work enough to qualify for Social Security. My spouse gets it, but he is ill and may not live much longer. Will I be able to collect benefits?
A: If your spouse dies you can collect a survivor benefit on their record. — Read Full Answer
Q: If a Social Security beneficiary dies in the middle of the month, are his or her survivors required to return a portion of the payment?
A: Since benefits are paid a month behind (e.g. the benefit for January is paid in February), any payment received during the month of death is payable and does not have to be returned. — Read Full Answer
Q: How long can I draw survivors benefits?
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