If your spouse does not earn income or earns less than you do, he/she (including a samesex spouse) may be entitled to Social Security spouse’s benefits, based on your record. Perhaps one spouse earned significantly more or worked longer than the other. Maybe one spouse stayed home to raise children, care for elders or manage the household, while the other worked.

Social Security looks at these possibilities to make sure both spouses receive the maximum Social Security benefits possible, whether based on each spouse’s earnings record or the higher wage earner’s record.

At full retirement age, your spouse can receive as much as one half of your full benefit. Early retirement benefits may be as little as a third of your full benefit amount. Note that benefits paid to your spouse do not decrease your benefit amount. If married for at least 10 years, spouse benefits may even be based on the earnings record of an ex-spouse or deceased spouse.

With so many options, a good place to start is our benefits planner at www.socialsecurity.gov/ planners in the “Benefits As A Spouse” section. If you are ready to apply for benefits, the fastest, easiest and most convenient way is to apply online at https://www.ssa.gov/applyonline.

Due to a Supreme Court decision, we now are able to pay benefits to some same-sex couples. We encourage people who think they may be eligible to apply now. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/same-sexcouples.

Questions, online applications, or to make an appointment to visit a Social Security office, contact:
1-800-772-1213 (toll free) | 1-800-325-0778 (TTY)

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