Social Security Q&A: Will My Spousal Benefit Reduce My Husband’s Retirement Benefit?

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Question: I currently receive benefits under the civil service program with the federal government and don’t have enough paid into Social Security. My husband retired on disability and started on regular Social Security when he turned 66. I will be 65 in a few months, and the Social Security Administration told me I could get Medicare under my husband. Will I have to sign up for Social Security to get Medicare and will it affect my husband’s benefits?

Answer: Your signing up for Medicare Part A and, if you want, Part B, and, if you want, Part D, when you reach 65 won’t affect your husband’s Social Security benefits or your own.

So, no, you don’t need to sign up to take your Social Security spousal benefit when you start collecting Medicare. You should probably wait until full retirement age, in your case 66, to file for your spousal benefit. If your husband passes away, you’ll be able to collect a widows benefit, which will be significantly higher than your spousal benefit.

However, Social Security’s Government Pension Offset provision may substantially reduce or even eliminate the spousal and survivor benefits you would otherwise receive.


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