Spousal-Only Beneficiaries in 2050Methodology »
Released: August 2021
Next expected update: 2023
DEFINITION: Spousal-only beneficiaries are individuals who did not work at all or enough to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits on their own earnings records, but do qualify for one-half of their spouses' monthly benefit.
In 2050, we project that:
- Almost 3 percent of all beneficiaries aged 62 or older will be spousal only and about three-fourths of spousal-only beneficiaries aged 62 or older will be women.
- The poverty rate will be lower for spousal-only beneficiaries compared with all beneficiaries aged 62 or older.
- Spousal-only beneficiaries will be disproportionately in low-earning households.
- Spousal-only beneficiaries will earn some credits by 2050, but not enough to qualify for benefits on their own records. a
|Characteristic||Spousal-only beneficiaries aged 62 or older||Beneficiaries aged 62 or older|
|Number of beneficiaries||2.3 million||82.3 million|
|All other races||19%||8%|
|Below 100% of the poverty threshold|
|Lifetime shared earnings quintile||Percentage of spousal-only beneficiaries aged 62 or older in quintile|
|Lifetime shared earnings quintile||Spousal-only beneficiaries aged 62 or older||Beneficiaries aged 62 or older|
a. To be fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits, a worker must have at least 10 years (or 40 credits) of earnings.
SOURCE: Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 8 (MINT8) microsimulation model using 2019 Trustees Report intermediate assumptions.