Manage spousal Social Security benefits

Life’s Financial Journeys

Heading Off to College
Getting Out on Your Own
Blending Two Lives
Having a Child
Emptying the Nest
Entering Retirement
Death of a Life Partner
Military Life

When two spouses have reached their full-benefit Social Security retirement age, one of the spouses will have a higher benefit than the other. The higher benefit spouse has the option of collecting their benefit, or they may elect to defer (file and suspend) their benefit and collect spousal benefits based on the lower spouses social security benefit.

The end result is the lower Social Security benefit spouse collects their full benefit and the higher Social Security benefit spouse (whose benefit has been deferred until up to age 70) collects 50% of the other spouse’s benefit.

The following resources may assist you in managing spousal Social Security benefits:

Social Security Spousal Benefits

Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses

Timing the Start of Spousal Social Security Benefits

Social Security On-line Application

Entering Retirement Tasks

1. Selecting your retirement lifestyle
2. Estimating your monthly retirement income
3. Setting up your spending plan
4. Enrolling in Social Security and Medicare
5. Managing taxes during retirement

Enrolling in Social Security and Medicare Subtasks

1. Decide when to take Social Security
2. Manage spousal Social Security benefits
3. Enroll in Medicare
4. Consider Medicare supplemental (Medigap) policy


NAPFA Consumer Education Foundation
8700 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 700N
Chicago, IL 60631
(847) 483–5400 ext. 106