I got married last year. I’ve worked for 30 years. My wife is from India and has never worked in the United States. She’s 65 and I’m 61. Will she be able to get spousal benefits when she turns 66?

Your wife can’t apply for a spousal benefit based on your earnings until you file for Social Security. If she’s at least 66 at that time, she’ll receive the maximum spousal benefit — an amount equal to 50 percent of your full retirement benefit.

Here are the eligibility rules for Social Security based on a spouse’s work record:

You can collect a benefit based on your spouse’s earnings during his or her lifetime if:

  • You’ve been married at least one year.
  • Your spouse has applied for Social Security.
  • You’re at least 62.
  • Your spousal benefit is larger than the one based on your own work record.

You qualify for a widow or widower’s benefit if:

  • Your marriage lasted at least nine months.
  • You’re at least 60 years old.
  • You didn’t remarry before turning 60.

If you’re divorced, you qualify for a spousal benefit based on your former spouse’s record if:

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • You haven’t remarried.
  • Your spousal benefit is bigger than the one based on your own record.
  • You’re at least 62.
  • Your former spouse qualifies for Social Security (is at least 62 years old or disabled) even if he or she hasn’t applied for it. And you qualify for a survivor benefit based on your ex’s record if you meet the first three conditions, and you’re at least 60 years old.

THE BOTTOM LINE

You can receive Social Security based on a spouse’s or a former spouse’s earnings record.

MORE INFORMATION

nwsdy.li/SpousalBenefits

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