Family Benefits of Social Security - Adviser Investments

Family Benefits of Social Security

In a previous post, we discussed the basics of Social Security. Today, we’ll dive into some other features of the Social Security program to include in your financial planning: Spousal benefits, child benefits and survivor benefits.

Benefits for Spouses

Under the Social Security system, one half of a married couple can opt to file for “spousal benefits” instead of filing based on their own work history. For couples where one spouse was the primary breadwinner while the other spent many of their prime working years at home raising their children or otherwise out of the workforce, filing for spousal benefits can make more financial sense than filing individually.

Spousal benefits entitle one partner to receive an amount equivalent to 50% of their spouse’s monthly payment at their full retirement age (FRA; 66 to 67, depending on their year of birth). As with regular benefits, spousal benefits will be reduced by 8% each year if you file early. However, unlike traditional benefits, the spousal version will never grow beyond 50% of the primary breadwinner’s FRA payment, even if you wait until age 70 to file.

Benefits for Children

If you’re considering filing for Social Security but still have minor children, they may be entitled to their own benefits once you file. To be eligible, the child must be either:

  • Under age 18
  • Under age 19 and a full-time elementary or high school student
  • Age 18 or older and have a disability that began before age 22

These are potentially significant benefits—we advise you to consider taking advantage of them if you can or keep them in mind if your circumstances change and you become eligible.

Benefits for Survivors

If one partner in a couple is entitled to a higher Social Security benefit than their partner and they pass away, the surviving spouse can choose to receive survivor benefits instead of the benefit they could claim based on their own work history.

The widow or widower is eligible for survivor benefits as long as the couple had been married for at least nine months at the time of their partner’s death. (If the surviving spouse is already receiving the spousal benefits mentioned above, they will automatically switch to survivor benefits once the Social Security Administration is notified of the death.)

One important thing to note: If the partner passes away and the widow or widower remarries before they turn 60, they are not eligible to receive survivor benefits based on their first spouse’s income.

Social Security analysis varies from person to person and family to family. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact us to receive a personalized breakdown.

Social Security analysis varies from person to person and family to family. If you have questions about your specific situation, please contact us to receive a personalized breakdown. We’re happy to help.

About Adviser Investments

Adviser is a full-service wealth management firm, offering investment managementfinancial and tax planningmanaged individual bond portfolios, and 401(k) advisory services. We’ve been helping individuals, trusts, institutions and foundations since 1994. Adviser Investments and its subsidiaries have over 5,000 clients across the country and over $8 billion in assets under management. Our portfolios encompass actively managed funds, ETFs, socially responsible investments and tactical asset allocation strategies, and we’re experts on Fidelity and Vanguard mutual funds. We take pride in being The Adviser You Can Talk To. To see a full list of our awards and recognitions, click here, and for more information, please visit or call 800-492-6868.

Disclaimer: This material is distributed for informational purposes only. The investment ideas and opinions contained herein should not be viewed as recommendations or personal investment advice or considered an offer to buy or sell specific securities. Our statements and opinions are subject to change at any time, without notice and should be considered only as part of a diversified portfolio. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds mentioned herein are not necessarily held in client portfolios. Data and statistics contained in this report are obtained from what we believe to be reliable sources; however, their accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

You may request a free copy of the firm’s Form ADV Part 2A, which describes, among other items, risk factors, strategies, affiliations, services offered and fees charged.

Past performance is not an indication of future returns. We do not provide legal or tax advice, nor sell insurance products. Tax, legal and insurance information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice, or as advice on whether to buy or surrender any insurance products. Always consult an attorney or tax professional, or licensed insurance professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation, or insurance needs.

© 2019 Adviser Investments, LLC. All Rights Reserved.