Social Security: Why Your Spouse Might Not Get Survivors' Benefits

Before you count on survivors' benefits for your spouse, make sure you don't fall into this trap.

Apr 6, 2014 at 8:35AM

Making a smart decision about your Social Security benefits requires thinking about your family situation. But if your spouse won't get survivors' benefits on your work record, it can make a huge impact on your decision-making process.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at one situation where spouses might not get survivors' benefits under Social Security. Dan notes that the Government Pension Offset provisions of Social Security force those public-sector workers who have other pensions and didn't themselves participate in the Social Security program to give up survivors' benefits. Essentially, the provision takes away benefits of up to two-thirds of what you receive from your other pension, which can make some spouses receive nothing after considering the offset. As a result, Dan concludes that those whose spouses might not qualify for benefits need to consider their own life expectancy much more closely in deciding when to take Social Security.

How to get the absolute most out of your Social Security
Navigating the complex rules to decide when to start taking Social Security is just one element in planning for your retirement. In our brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder for You," our retirement experts give their insight on making the key decisions that will help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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