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Specifically, the author of the article, Adam J. Wiederman, explains that the Social Security payments your spouse will receive can be based on his/her own earning record. However, if your earnings are higher, your spouse can receive a “spousal benefit”. This pertains to 50% of the higher earning spouse’s benefit.
Also, if the higher-earning spouse passes away first, the other spouse is eligible to receive 100% of his/her spouse’s benefit, which is referred to as a “survivor’s benefit”.
This number is not fixed; if the spouse with the higher earning record decides to seek Social Security benefits later on, then the monthly payments go up, since they are adjusted for inflation. Thus, even if the higher-earning spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can still reap the benefits of higher payments.
Wiederman advises couples to take this into consideration while planning for retirement in order to ensure maximum financial security and satisfaction.