Should my wife apply for Social Security on my account?


Q. I understand that my wife can get 50% of my Social Security benefits at her full retirement age. She has not worked. Should she apply for Social Security on her own account or should she apply on my Social Security account?
— Husband

A. There’s a very important item you mentioned.

If your wife never worked, she would not have accumulated enough work credits to qualify for her own Social Security benefits.

“If your wife never worked, or if her own retirement benefit would be less than half of your full retirement age retirement benefit, she may be entitled to spousal benefits,” said Nicholas Scheibner, a certified financial planner with Baron Financial Group in Fair Lawn.

When your wife applies for Social Security, Social Security will automatically apply for both her own retirement benefits and spousal benefits, he said.
This is called “deemed filing.”

Note that your wife can only receive spousal benefits if you are currently collecting retirement benefits, Scheibner said.

Also know that if your wife files for benefits before her full retirement age, there will be an early filing reduction in her benefits, he said.

She can apply on the Social Security website or she can contact her local Social Security office.

Email your questions to .

This story was originally published on July 6, 2023. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.