Q. When I receive my annual Social Security Statement showing the benefit I am eligible for at various ages, does this amount include my wife’s spousal benefit? If not, how can I determine what it is? And what impact does her age have on the benefit? Since she is 3 years younger than me, I’m assuming her spousal benefit will not begin until she reaches eligibility age.
A. A maximum Social Security spouse benefit is 50 percent of your full-retirement-age benefit. The extra 50 percent is not included in the benefit estimate shown on your Social Security Statement. The spouse benefit is paid in addition to the wage earner’s benefit.
A wife is eligible for a spouse benefit as early as age 62, but if the benefit begins before her full retirement age, it must be reduced for months of early retirement. If your wife’s full retirement age is 66, her spouse benefit at age 62 would be 35 percent of your full benefit. Regardless of the age at which she begins a spouse benefit, if she is full retirement age or more before being widowed, your wife’s monthly benefit would rise to the full benefit you would receive if still alive.