TN 5 (12-03)

NL 00711.025 Wife's Benefits Paragraphs

205.  GENERAL

When a man is receiving monthly retirement or disability benefits, his wife may receive benefits.

  1. at age 62 if she has been married to the worker for at least 1 year or is the natural mother of his child. If she decides to take the benefits before full retirement age, her monthly payments will be at a reduced rate. An explanation of reduced benefits is given in the enclosed publication.

  2. regardless of her age, if she has in her care a child entitled to monthly benefits on her husband's earnings record. However, a wife's benefit will not be paid if the only child in her care has attained 16 and is not disabled.

NOTE TO TYPIST: Enclose SSA Publication No. 78-10047 (or current revision).

205.1.  INQUIRY FROM HUSBAND

When you are receiving monthly retirement or disability benefits, your wife may receive benefits.

  1. at age 62 if she has been married to you for at least 1 year or is the natural mother of your child. If she decides to take benefits before full retirement age, her monthly payments will be at a reduced rate. An explanation of reduced benefits is given in the enclosed publication.

  2. regardless of her age if she has in her care a child entitled to monthly benefits on your earnings record. However, a wife's benefit will not be paid if the only child in her care has attained age 16 and is not disabled.

NOTE TO TYPIST: Enclose SSA Publication No. 78-10047 (or current revision).

208.  INQUIRY FROM WIFE

If your husband is entitled to social security benefits you may receive wife's benefits.

  1. at age 62 if you have been married to him for at least 1 year or are the natural mother of his child. If you decide to take benefits before full retirement age, your monthly benefits will be at a reduced rate. An explanation of reduced benefits is given in the enclosed publication.

  2. regardless of your age if you have in your care a child entitled to monthly benefits on your husband's earnings record. However, benefits will not be paid to you if the only child in your care has attained age 16 and is not disabled.

NOTE TO TYPIST: Enclose SSA Publication No. 78-10047 (or current revision).

210.  HUSBAND NOT ENTITLED

A wife, 62 years of age or more, may not become entitled to monthly benefits on the basis of her husband's social security record unless he is receiving retirement or disability benefits.

215.  DIVORCED WIFE

A divorced wife who has not married or whose remarriage has ended may receive benefits at age 62 or later on her former husband's social security record if he is receiving benefits. She must have been married to him for at least 10 years immediately preceding the divorce. If her former husband is at least age 62 but has not applied for benefits, she can receive benefits on his record if they have been divorced for at least 2 years.

  • (Not applicable if former husband is dead—see widow's benefits)

There is no provision for payments to a divorced wife before age 62 even if she has a child in her care entitled to benefits on her former husband's social security record.

220.  AMOUNT OF WIFE'S BENEFIT

Ordinarily, if a wife is the only auxiliary entitled on her husband's social security record, her monthly payment at full retirement age would be equal to one-half the amount he would receive at full retirement age. However, a wife who decides to take benefits before full retirement age, and who has no child in her care entitled to benefits, will receive payments at a reduced rate.

220.1  SIMULTANEOUS ENTITLEMENT—GENERAL

Monthly social security benefits are paid to any person who qualifies for them (a) whether man or woman, married, or single.

220.2  SIMULTANEOUS ENTITLEMENT—WOMAN

A woman who has worked in employment covered by the Social Security Act may qualify for benefits at age 62 on her own earnings record.

220.3  SIMULTANEOUS ENTITLEMENT—MARRIED WOMAN

In addition to any rights a married woman may have based on her own earnings record, she may also become eligible for a wife's or widow's benefit based on her husband's earnings record, provided he is insured.

220.4.  SIMULTANEOUS ENTITLEMENT—LARGER AMOUNT

If a woman is entitled to benefits based on her own earnings record and also on her husband's earnings record, she would receive monthly payments equal to the larger of the two benefit amounts.

For example, if the benefit payable on her own earnings record is equal to or greater than her benefit as a wife or widow, she will receive only the payment on her own earnings record.