What Happens to My Younger Spouse’s Social Security Benefits If He Keeps Working?
I plan on remarrying. I am 67 and get full Social Security benefits. If I should pass, I know my husband can get my benefits. Is his benefit amount reduced if he continues to work because he is younger, just 55 .
Whether your husband chooses to take his own Social Security retirement benefits or spousal benefits, they may be reduced prior to his full-retirement age of 67 if he continues to work. In 2023, he would lose $1 of Social Security for every $2 earned above $21,240. That figure is adjusted every year for inflation.
To make things a bit more complicated, in the year your husband will turn 67, the reduction in benefits will $1 for every $3 earned above $56,520 (again that number to be adjusted for inflation).
So, if your husband is 55 years old now and will turn 67 in 2035, it’s very unlikely that he should take his Social Security benefits, whether his own or spousal benefits, as long as he keeps working, at least until January 2035 when the penalty for working may disappear depending on the level of his income. Further, the longer your husband delays taking his own Social Security benefits, the higher they will be, whether he is taking his own retirement benefit or spousal benefits. (A past strategy of collecting spousal benefits and allowing your own benefits to increase until age 70 and then to switch over, has been closed.)
You can learn more about this on the Social Security website here: https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-01921.
However, all the above does not address your specific question about surviving spouse benefits. If you were to die, your husband could begin receiving surviving spouse benefits as early as age 60. (He can’t start taking his own retirement benefits or spousal benefits until age 62.) His benefit amount would be a reduced portion of your own Social Security benefit until he reaches age 67. Unlike with spousal benefits, your husband could continue to receive survivorship benefits and allow his own retirement benefits to grow until he reaches age 67 or even up until age 70. However, if he keeps working, his benefit will be reduced under the same rules described above for spousal benefits.