Social Security Q & A

Q:  What is the benefit amount a spouse may be entitled to receive?

A:  If you’re eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we will always pay you benefits based on your record first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse’s benefits. A spouse generally receives 50 percent of the retired worker’s full benefit, unless the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age. If the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age, the amount of the spouse’s benefit is reduced by a percentage based on the number of months before he or she reaches full retirement age. For example, based on a full retirement age of 66, if a spouse begins collecting benefits:

• At age 65, the benefit amount would be about 46 percent of the retired worker’s full benefit;

• At age 64, it would be about 42 percent;

• At age 63, 37.5 percent; and

• At age 62, 35 percent.

However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is either under age 16 or disabled and receives Social Security benefits on the same record, a spouse will get full benefits, regardless of age. Learn more by reading our retirement publication at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10035.html.

Q:  If I call 1-800-772-1213, can a Social Security representative take my application for Medicare prescription drug help over the phone?

A:  If an interviewer is available when you call the 800 number, he or she can take your application over the phone. If an interviewer is not immediately available, we can schedule a telephone appointment for you.

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