Social Security Strategies for Married Couples

Most people don't think of social security and strategy as going together. But they do go together because they are both essential in planning how to receive the best social security benefits.

Not only the best social security benefits for you but also your spouse. Social security strategies vary from article to article. But there are some consistent strategies you need to know.

If you learn these social security strategies they will allow you to have the retired life you dreamed of throughout your working years.

What's more, knowing social security strategies will allow you to share a premium retired life with your spouse.

We are here to show you ten ways you can use social security strategies as a couple to reap the retirement financial rewards you deserve.

Social Security Strategies for Married Couples

Average Social Security Benefit for Married Couples

To plan for your best social security strategies it is important to know how much each spouse will receive in retirement benefits.

The base for determining social security retirements is what their job earnings were over the years. Whatever each of their job(s) were and how much they made becomes the formula.

This social security formula will determine their social security benefit amount. This benefit amount formula doesn't change even if they are working until the age and time they apply for their social security benefits.

It is also important to understand it doesn't matter what one spouse receives in social security benefits. Because it has nothing to do with what the other spouse receives in social security benefits.

But there is a maximum dollar amount of how much they can receive from the social security agency in benefits together. This is the family benefit. The family benefit has a cap on financial pay-out amounts.

In essence, it states the following;

  • There is a family benefit cap which uses a single worker's earnings record as the benefit amount.
  • The maximum family benefit cap is 150 percent to 188 percent of the worker's monthly benefit payment at their full retirement age.
  • There is also the most individual retirement benefit can be. This is the number of taxable earnings for thirty-five of the individual's work years.
  • There is even the greatest dollar amount for an individual's social security benefit. The most they can receive is $2,861.
  • The greatest dollar amount for any individual social security benefit if they are 70 years old in 2019 is $3,770.

Social Security Options

Social security options vary for married couples and are diverse. We have listed five social security options for your review and consideration. They are;

  1. If possible, a married couple should delay filing for social security benefits. This is very smart to do if the married couple is around the same ages.
    • If you wait to claim at full retirement age, the spousal benefits you will receive are about half of the higher-earning spouse’s benefit.
    • But, when you file social security married benefit claim before full retirement age there is a negative result. Your financial dollar benefit is forever reduced. It becomes;
        • 25/36 of 1% (8.33% per year) for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months early.
        • 5/12 of 1% (5% per year) for each month beyond 36, as early as age 62.
    • This results in your social security financial benefit maximized at retirement age
      .
  2. If a married couple has one partner who earned more than the other, social security benefits become based on their job earnings. This maximizes your social security financial dollar amount.

  3. If a married couple is in ill health or may have a shorter life expectancy projected, claim your social security benefits earlier. This maximizes your social security financial dollar amount.

  4. A spouse can receive maximized social security benefits if the other spouse claimed their own social security benefits.
    • The higher earning spouse needs to be collecting their social security benefits before their spouse.
    • For a maximized amount this claim must be active before the spouse claims their own social security benefit.

  5. Do not wait to file for your married social security benefits if you are already 67 years old. 
    • Your spousal social security benefits maximize and do not ever increase after you turn 67 years old. 

Social Security Advice

The social security advice we list below also helps you maximize your spousal social security benefits. They are;

  1. If your spouse was the higher social security benefit earner and dies first, you may be able to get their benefits.
    • No matter which spouse dies first the other one receives 100% of the Social Security benefit amount if they are at the age of retirement. 
    • The Social Security benefits which are more goes to the surviving spouse. The spouse's greater amount of benefit is always yours instead of the lower amount.

  2. Most married people remember a file-and-suspend social security strategy. This strategy helped maximize social security benefits. But it is long gone.
    • Now both spouses are eligible to file for social security retirement benefits. But the lower-earning spouse needs to file before retirement age.
    • This gives spouses social security benefit dollars.
    • The higher-earning spouse needs to wait as long as possible to claim social security benefits. Because this will maximize their inflation-adjusted income.
    • As a side benefit, it also provides increased survivor social security benefits. This occurs if the higher-earning spouse dies.

  3. If a spouse dies and the remaining spouse re-marries age 60 or later they can collect social security survivor benefits. These benefits come to them from their deceased partner.

  4. If both you and your spouse earned about the same amount over your working years, both of you need to wait until you are 70 to file.
    • This maximizes your social security retirement amounts and your survivor benefits for each other.

  5. Any divorced individual can still receive spousal social security benefits if a previous marriage was 10 years or more. 
    • If you have a deceased ex-spouse and your marriage was 10 years or more you will get whichever social security benefit which is higher.

Social Security Filing Strategies

Social Security Filing Strategies

Recent laws have changed social security benefits. So it is important to understand social security filing strategies.

Most Americans receive social security retirement benefits of approximately 30 to 60% of their total retirement income.

What's sad to learn is over 90% of Americans never receive the social security benefits entitled.

Married couples are losing thousands of dollars of social security benefits. Yet the Social Security Administration cannot tell you this as they are not allowed. They cannot give you any social security strategy.

What's more, the Social Security Administration has over 2700 rules for social security benefit filing. Some of them are very complex.

In fact, there are over 500 ways to file for social security benefits. If you do nothing else, learn and know your social security benefit process before you file.

Spousal social security filing strategies which maximize social security benefits are not easy. They can complicate the process.

To make sure you receive the most spousal social security benefits understand the rules which apply to your benefit status. 

Understand the social security retirement rules which apply to your life expectancy. Understand the social security retirement rules which apply to your need for income.

Make sure you understand how long you need to work, and your spousal survivor financial needs.

Social Security Strategies

We already know the average social security benefit for married couples is a formula which uses you and your spouse's job history.

Your social security strategies need to take into account your job earnings and adjusts them for inflation. It then takes your job's monthly income over the 10-35 years you worked. 

At some point, the Social Security Administration then adjusts this figure with bend points. Adjustments for you and your spouse are separate.

This allows the Social Security Administration to figure out how much each of you will get at your full retirement age.

Your full retirement age is 66-67 if born after 1954. There are examples of the social security strategies you need to take with your spouse.

One of these examples is as follows;

  • Your full retirement age spouse is going to receive $2,000 in social security benefits.
  • If you are going to receive nothing it is because you never paid into social security. Or didn't pay into social security long enough to receive benefits.
  • If you are the spouse who is going to receive 0 in social security benefits there is a way you CAN receive spousal social security benefits of 1/2 of the $2,000.
  • In other words, you can receive $1,000 a month in spousal benefits.

The average social security strategy brings spouses combined social security benefits of $2,340 per month.

That is the average based on social security strategy which is typical but not maximized.

What Do You Do to Maximize your Social Security Strategies?

There are many ways to maximize spousal social security strategies. We have listed a few in this article.

But there are many more ways to plan for your social security benefits and retirement pension needs.

The best place to always start is always at the beginning. We have social security for your retirement information. We also have the social security administration retirement benefit applications.

We even have a place for you to go through a brief check-off list to be certain you should apply for social security benefits right now.

We want to answer your social security questions and be the first step in planning your retirement future. Don't wait to reach out to us. Your future can be all you want it to be!