Do I get more Social Security if I get married?

Dear Benny,

My boyfriend wants me to marry him so I can take advantage of his social security. I am 64 years old, and he is 74 years old. I now make about $5,000 a month. He gets $1,700 in Social Security benefits.

Can he claim more Social Security benefits from me if we are married? Does marrying him help me with social security? I plan to work until I can’t really work.

My job is healthcare, so work isn’t easy. Now, I pay the mortgage and many expenses.


Dear E.,

Boosting your Social Security isn’t as simple as walking down the aisle. If that’s the case, I think we’ll be drowning in wedding invitations from 60 and 70 people in our lives.

I don’t think any of you will get any more Social security Retirement money from marriage. The rules around Social Security and marriage can get complicated. But basically what you need to know is that the most you can get is 50% of your spouse’s allowance while they are still alive. The same rule applies if you are claiming an extension Ex-husband’s social security.

Double dipping is not allowed. So you can claim your own benefits, or you can claim up to 50% of your spouse’s benefits, provided you have been married for at least one year. You are not entitled to claim your own benefit in addition to half of your spouse’s right. (The 50% cap also applies when you claim an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.)

Claiming spousal benefits often makes sense when one spouse spends a significant portion of their adult life outside the work force. But you earn $5000 a month. You probably didn’t stumble upon a job that pays you $60,000 overnight. I think you have a decent work record of your own. So taking Social Security on your own earnings will definitely result in interest higher than the maximum $850 you can get based on your friend’s history.

If you marry, your boyfriend will be able to turn to your advantage when you move forward after being married for a year. But remember: the most he can get is 50% of your benefit. Unless you expect to get at least twice the $1,700 he makes a month, he won’t get an extra cent from Social Security.

All told, marriage may lead to more social security for a widowed husband when either of you dies since then Survival benefits Pay up to 100% of the largest interest. But you seem more concerned about how to increase retirement budget For the life you built together.

Unfortunately, there are no easy ways to increase your Social Security benefits. Unless you marry someone who has benefited greatly from you, the solutions are basically this: work longer. Earn more money. Wait as long as possible.

But working forever and deferring Social Security until age 70 isn’t an option for many people. No doubt you are fully aware of this fact, especially since you are working in a challenging job.

Marriage is unlikely to offer any quick fixes, but what I do wonder is if there is anything your boyfriend can do to make life easier for you. You seem to be under a lot of pressure between work and incurring a lot of expenses.

Does he have enough savings that he can contribute a little more? Any extra money you can put aside for your retirement so that you don’t feel like you need to work into old age would be a big win for you. Even if his budget is stretched to the limit, does he help you with things like cooking and housework? Or is he willing to talk about strategies like shrinking your budget or downsizing your business so that you can eventually downsize? There may not be easy answers, but you shouldn’t be pressured to take care of everything.

After all, a lot of decisions about love and marriage are closely related to money. But this does not appear to be one of them. Marry him if you think he will make you happier. But if you’re only thinking about getting married because you want more Social Security, don’t bother sending save dates.

Robin Hartell is a certified financial planner and senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. Send your tough financial questions to [email protected].

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