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Subject:  Re: Social Security 62/65 Article Date:  3/15/2000  1:13 PM
Author:  TMFPixy Number:  2904 of 20630

Greetings, P3M3M8, and welcome. You asked:

<<confused by Mrs. Pixy benefits. I took early benefit. Mrs. is concered she will have to take benefit based on her work record [she quit working shortly after marrage]. I was told she could collect on my recoed when she becomes 62. Whats correct..age and benefit. >>

As far as age is concerned, both you and your spouse may draw reduced benefits at age 62. And, assuming your spouse has enough quarters of credit (she needs 40) to draw on her record, then here's how it works.

When a person has a work record with sufficient credit, then that person will always draw on that work record. If a spousal benefit provides a higher benefit, then that person's check will be supplemented by the higher earner's record so that it equals the higher benefit.

As a quick example, say my spouse is entitled to a $500 monthly check on her record. As my spouse, she is entitled to $600 per month on my record. She draws first on her own record, then from mine up to the point where her payment equals the highest benefit to which she is entitled. Thus, she gets $500 from her work plus an additional $100 from mine, for a total of $600.

If she was entitled to $650 on her own record, then she would draw no spousal benefit at all because her own benefit is already higher than the $600 she could receive as a spouse.

In short, no spouse is entitled to both the spousal benefit and their individual work benefit at the same time. Instead, the spouse is entitled to a payment that equals the highest benefit for which he/she is eligible. And in drawing that benefit, part or all of the payment will come from their own work record to be supplemented as needed from the other spouse's work record.

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