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One of my retired buddies swears up and down that his wife (also retired) gets TWO social security checks, one under her SSAN and one under his. I've never heard of such a thing -- is it (legally) possible?

Both are 66 and have been maried for 40+ years to one another. Neither has a disability nor do they have dependents.

TDeF
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TDeF asks:

One of my retired buddies swears up and down that his wife (also retired) gets TWO social security checks, one under her SSAN and one under his. I've never heard of such a thing -- is it (legally) possible?

Well, I've never heard of two checks being issued that way, but it's certainly possible that during her work career she made less than he did. At retirement, she would first draw benefits under her own work record. However, as the spouse of the primary wage earner in the family, she is also eligible to receive up to one-half of whatever he would draw at full retirement age. If her own benefit doesn't equal or exceed that amount, then she would get an additional payment to bring her total benefit up to that amount. The additional payment would come from her hubby's work record. It's possible that's what your friend is talking about. Like I said, I've never heard of two checks being issued; still, that doesn't mean that situation doesn't occur.

Regards ... Pixy
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However, as the spouse of the primary wage earner in the family, she is also eligible to receive up to one-half of whatever he would draw at full retirement age.

I guess I don't understand. 8^(


I can understand them each drawing SS based on their own work histories, but they're both alive and still married, so why would she be receiving checks in her name based on his benefit as well as checks based on her benefit? Or do you mean that they split his benefit somehow and issue one check to her for part of it and the remainder to him?

TDeF



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TDeF writes:

I can understand them each drawing SS based on their own work histories, but they're both alive and still married, so why would she be receiving checks in her name based on his benefit as well as checks based on her benefit? Or do you mean that they split his benefit somehow and issue one check to her for part of it and the remainder to him?

Where is it written that anything Congress does must be understandable or make sense? <vbg>

Under existing law a spouse is entitled to receive a benefit based on the work record of his or her mate. This is true regardless of whether that spouse worked under a job covered by Social Security or not. Still, the spouse is also entitled to receive a benefit under his or her own work record. Therefore, the SSA computes what the benefit would be under both records. The money paid out will always equal the total of the higher benefit payable. But how that amount gets paid causes confusion.

The quirk comes in because folks who paid into the Social Security system will always draw a beneift under their own work record first. If that benefit does not equal what they could draw as a spouse, then an additional amount will be paid from the other spouse's work record so the total benefit the first spouse gets will equal the highest benefit to which that spouse is entitled. As a result, spouses who earned less than their mates often receive benefits that come from both spouses' work records.

Regards ... Pixy
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Aha! That explanation makes perfect sense -- thank you!


TDeF
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Thank you, TMFPixy.

So often you have entered this board with spot-on answers to confusing technicalities. I know I am not the only one who has benefitted from your insight. It is much appreciated.

Tilnow
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