Social Security Administration 

Understanding Social Security spouses' benefits


October 1, 2021 | View PDF

Did you know your spouse’s benefit amount could be up to 50% of your spouse’s full retirement age benefit amount? If you qualify for a retirement benefit from your own work history and a spouse’s record, we always pay your own benefit first. You cannot receive spouse’s benefits unless your spouse is receiving their retirement benefits (except for divorced spouses).

If you receive your retirement benefit before your full retirement age, while waiting for your spouse to reach full retirement age, your own retirement portion will be reduced. When you add your spouse’s benefits later, the total retirement and spouse’s benefit together will be no more than 50% of the worker’s amount. You can find out more about this at

Knowing about these benefits can help you plan your financial future. Access a wealth of useful information on our retirement portal at


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