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Spousal Benefit

The spouse of a wage earner can receive up to one-half the wage earner's "full benefit" amount. The full benefit amount is based on the wage earner's work history. In 2011, the maximum wage earner's monthly benefits was $2,366.

Many figures used to calculate Social Security Spouse benefits are revised annually by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Federal agency that administers the program. These figures are usually updated in October and can be found in the November issue of the Federal Register, the official government source for administrative changes.

Note: the Press Office http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/pressrel.htm of the Social Security Administration issues annual updates on the Social Security cost-of-living increases. The figures are reliable and are updated each year after October 1st, based on an examination of changes in the Consumer Price Index since the previous year.

You can also find the figures on the SSA website, or by calling Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or TTY at 1-800-325-0778 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The amount of a spousal benefit depends upon the work record of the wage earner.  The benefit amount is a percentage of the wage earner's benefits.  If others also receive a benefit on the wage earner's work record, the spousal benefit may be reduced if the total amount of benefits paid on a single work record exceeds a family maximum.  Learn more about Benefits For Your Spouse through the Social Security Administration online. 

Eligibility

You must be the spouse of a wage earner who is receiving retirement or disability benefits, and meet one of the following:

  • you were married at least one year or
  • you had a child with the wage earner or
  • you were already eligible for Social Security benefits on another account in the month before the marriage

PLUS

  • you are 62 or older or
  • you have the wage earner's child who is entitled to benefits in your care, and the child is either
  • under 16 or
  • is disabled.
Income Eligibility

None

Asset Eligibility

None

Apply at

Social Security office.  Locate your Social Security Office

Appeals
  • You can appeal any denial, termination, or reduction of benefits
  • You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date of the written notice with which you disagree.
  • In addition, you have a 5 day "grace period" to allow for the mailing of the notice to you, making the total amount of time you have to file an appeal 60+5 days.
Source of Funds

Social Security Trust Fund

Sources of Law

Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”