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Social Security Q&A: Spouses' retirements; military benefits

Earnings calculated independently

Q: My husband and I are both entitled to our own Social Security benefits. Will our combined benefits be reduced because we are married?

A: No. When each member of a married couple works in employment covered under Social Security and both meet all other eligibility requirements to receive retirement benefits, lifetime earnings are calculated independently to determine the benefit amounts. Therefore, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings.

If one member of the couple earned low wages or did not earn enough Social Security credits (40) to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse.

There's more on retirement at socialsecurity.gov/retirement.

Military retirement won't impact benefits

Q: I just got back from an overseas military deployment and I want to plan ahead for my retirement. How will my military retirement affect my Social Security benefits?

A: Your military retirement won't affect your Social Security benefits at all. You can get both.

Generally, there is no offset of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement. You will get full Social Security benefits based on your earnings.

However, your Social Security benefit might be reduced if you also receive a government pension based on a job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes.

You can find more information in the publication Military Service and Social Security at socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Social Security Q&A: Spouses' retirements; military benefits 08/22/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 5:55pm]
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