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Chapter 23. Social Security and Medicare > Spousal Benefits - Pg. 243

Social Security and Medicare 243 Family Benefits If you're eligible for retirement benefits or disability benefits, other members of your family might receive benefits as well. Here's a list of those who are eligible: · · · · · Your spouse, if he or she is at least 62 Your spouse under 62 is taking care of your child, who is under age 16 or disabled Your former spouse or spouses age 62 or older, if they were married to you for at least 10 years Your children, if they are unmarried and under 18, or under 19 but still in school Your children over 18, if they are disabled Spousal Benefits If you're married, you're entitled to your own benefits or to one-half of your spouse's benefits, which- ever is larger. (Is that why we use the term "better half"?) As always, there is an exception to every government rule. If a spouse begins to collect benefits before age 65, the spousal benefits will be permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months he or she begins collecting benefits before that person's 65th birthday. Does that sound confusing? Let's try an example. If your spouse begins collecting benefits at age 64 on your Social Security record, the benefit would be about 46 percent of yours. If your spouse applies at age 63, it would be 42 percent. At age 62, the figure is only 37.5 percent. Warning!