How do you qualify for spousal benefits? To qualify for spousal benefits, your own retirement benefit must be less than the amount of the spousal benefit and you must be at least 62 years old or be caring for a qualifying child (under 16 or disabled).
What is the spousal benefit amount? The maximum spousal benefit is equal to 50% of your spouse’s monthly benefit amount (PIA, Primary Insurance Amount), if you begin collecting it at your own Full Retirement Age (FRA). If you collect a spousal benefit prior to your own FRA, the spousal benefit will be reduced, and this reduction is permanent. There is no increase in a spousal benefit by waiting to collect after your own FRA.
What are the marriage requirements? In order to be eligible to receive spousal benefits, you must be married for one year or you must be the parent of your spouse’s child. If you are divorced, but you were married for more than 10 years, then you may also be eligible to receive ex-spousal benefits.
Can you collect a spousal benefit and a retirement benefit? If you are eligible to collect more than one benefit, you will only be able to receive the amount equal to the higher benefit. Therefore, if you are eligible for your own retirement benefit as well as a spousal benefit, you will receive the amount that is the higher of the two benefits.
Learn more about spousal benefits here.