Here's the Average Spousal Social Security Benefit at Ages 62 to 67


Social Security is often the largest source of household income in retirement. That means earning a bigger benefit can have a material impact on living standards in later life. Unfortunately, many Americans misunderstand important aspects of the program, and those knowledge gaps can lead to financial mistakes and missed opportunities.

For instance, a survey from MassMutual found that 28% of Americans nearing retirement were unaware that a spouse could claim Social Security on the work record of their partner. That statement is true even if the spouse in question has no work history of their own. Is it also true (in certain circumstances) if the spouse in question is divorced.

Read on to see the average spousal Social Security benefit at ages 62 to 67, and to learn how spousal benefits are determined.

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The average spousal Social Security benefit at ages 62 to 67

The Social Security Administration regularly makes anonymized data available to the public. Doing so fosters transparency and promotes understanding. For instance, the chart below shows the average monthly Social Security benefit for spouses aged 62 to 67. Understanding the underlying trend can help future recipients make informed financial decisions.

Age

Average Spousal Social Security Benefit

62

$644.21

63

$632.09

64

$652.85

65

$718.63

66

$781.43

67

$861.22

Data source: Social Security Administration. Shown above is the average Social Security benefit for spouses of retired workers as of Dec. 31, 2023.

The chart makes an important trend readily apparent. Spousal Social Security benefits tend to increase with age, such that the average payout at age 67 is nearly 34% higher than the average payout at age 62. That trend is partially due to annual cost-of-living adjustments, which increase benefits to account for inflation. But claiming age is also a contributing factor.

Spouses become eligible for Social Security at age 62, provided the worker on whose record they claim is already receiving retirement benefits. However, spouses who claim Social Security before their full retirement age (FRA) receive a permanently reduced benefit, as discussed in the next section.

How spousal Social Security benefits are determined

Spousal Social Security benefits are calculated based on (1) the claiming age of the spouse and (2) the primary insurance amount (PIA) of the retired worker on whose record they claim Social Security. For context, the term PIA refers to the benefit a retired worker would receive should they choose to claim Social Security at their FRA.

The spousal benefit equals 50% of the retired worker’s PIA for spouses who claim Social Security at their own FRA. But spouses who claim early receive a reduced payout for life, meaning they get less than 50% of the retired worker’s PIA. The precise reduction depends on how many months before FRA the spouse starts collecting benefits.

The chart below shows the relationship between birth year and FRA. It also shows the spousal benefit (as a percentage of the retired worker’s PIA) each group would receive if they filed for Social Security at age 62. In other words, the chart shows the smallest possible benefit for spouses in each age group.

Birth Year

Full Retirement Age

Benefit at Age 62

1943 to 1954

66

35%

1955

66 and 2 months

34.6%

1956

66 and 4 months

34.2%

1957

66 and 6 months

33.8%

1958

66 and 8 months

33.3%

1959

66 and 10 months

32.9%

1960 and later

67

32.5%

Data source: Social Security Administration. Shown above is full retirement age for individuals born in different years, and the smallest possible spousal benefit (as a percentage of the retired worker’s primary insurance amount) for the different groups.

Importantly, whereas retired workers get a bigger benefit if they delay Social Security beyond FRA, the same does not apply to spousal benefits. Spouses have nothing to gain from starting Social Security after their FRA, so it never makes sense to claim any later.

A few more things spouses should know about Social Security benefits

Divorced spouses can still claim Social Security on the work record of their ex-partner provided the marriage lasted 10 years, the spouse has not remarried, and the spouse is at least 62 years of age. Notably, whereas current spouses cannot receive benefits unless their married partner is also receiving benefits, that rule does not apply to divorced spouses.

Finally, spouses with their own work records who file for Social Security will automatically receive whichever benefit is higher, their own retired-worker benefit or the spousal benefit. But spouses cannot delay their own retired-worker benefit to earn delayed retirement credits while drawing spousal benefits on their partner’s work record. When spouses file for Social Security, they automatically file for retired-worker benefits and spousal benefits at the same time.



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