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How is the SS income of a spouse calculated
Old 08-21-2005, 03:12 PM   #1
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How is the SS income of a spouse calculated

Having followed an earlier thread on SS Statements after FIRE it got me thinking of a couple of questions that I'm sure this fine group can answer. (also, how do I add a link to that thread even though this question has nothing to do with money - http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=3725.0)


My latest calculation using the SS calculator is $1,800/month and my wife's is $600/mo. Looking at the SS website it looks like she will in fact receive 50% of my payments. ie $900/mo, making a combined SS income for us of $2,700/mo.

First question I have - am I reading this correctly?

Second question I have is if this is true, does it work if the wife is the large wage earner?. My wife's (much younger) sister is an SAP consultant making far more money than her DH. Some years ago when they started a family he quit his job to take care of them. He is now a child carer and earning far less than she is. When it comes time for SS for them, will his SS payments be made up to 50% of hers?
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated
Old 08-21-2005, 04:43 PM   #2
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated

SS benefits for either husband or wife are the higher of SS benefits based on their own earnings or 50% of their spouse's SS benefits.

Check the SS web site for details.

Note: Beware of the Windfall Elimination Provision for government employees (federal, state, local)
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated
Old 08-21-2005, 05:21 PM   #3
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated

Thanks, that pushes the ER calculation a little more in our favor*
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated
Old 08-22-2005, 10:37 AM   #4
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated

WOW... this is a telling

I put in my information and it came up with a number... I then kept changing my salary and retirement age and the amount barely changed at all... the only time it changed a lot was when I retired at 70 and it jumped...

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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated
Old 08-22-2005, 11:20 AM   #5
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated

My annual SS statement had a reference to MAXIMUM FAMILY BENEFIT.

I assumed it was to cap bennefits to dual income families ... the max was lower than your combined (someting ~2400).

Might be worth looking into ...
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated
Old 08-22-2005, 12:25 PM   #6
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Re: How is the SS income of a spouse calculated

One thing to consider is life expectancy. The way I understand it, when one spouse dies, the other spouse retains the larger benefit of the two. For that reason I don't include my wifes SS at all in my retirement planning. Any thoughts on this?
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