Q: I am 64 and my Social Security benefit at age 66 will be $2,240. My husband will receive a smaller retirement benefit when he reaches age 66 of only about $500. He plans to apply for benefits on his own record at age 66. Will he be able to receive a higher benefit when I apply for retirement benefits when I reach age 66?
A: Yes. When you begin receiving Social Security benefits at age 66, as you plan, he will be eligible for an additional amount on your Social Security record that would provide him with a total monthly benefit that would be equal to half of your own benefit.
However, we wonder why your husband’s benefit on his own record is so low. If it is because he spent most of his life in employment that wasn’t covered by Social Security (such as working for federal, state or local government) his benefit may be reduced by the “government pension offset.” Under this provision, his spousal benefit on your record would be reduced by two-thirds of any federal, state or local pension/annuity he receives that is based on non-covered earnings. See http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/gpo.htm for more information.