Institutional Rules Explorer

Comparing policies across countries:  Public Spousal Old-Age Benefits
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
Spouse must be age 65 and the insured must have at least 150 quarters of contributions
Statutory retirement age
Age 65
Benefit reduction for claiming early
N/A
Benefit increase for delayed claiming
N/A
1992
2017
Eligibility criteria
Spouses or civil partners with at least 25 years of contributions each and:
  • one partner has reached the full benefit eligibility age (see Table) and the other is entitled to a full pension; or
  • both spouses are entitled to a full pension due to old age; or
  • a spouse dies before the 1st or 2nd requirement are met. In this case, the surviving spouse alone can arrange the pension splitting between spouses.

Pension splitting is allowed if:
  • the marriage or partnership must have begun after 2001; or
  • the marriage or partnership started before 2001 and both spouses or civil partners were born after January 1, 1962
Statutory retirement age
Benefit reduction for claiming early
Early claiming not available
Benefit increase for delayed claiming
Yes
 Poland
No Plan
 United Kingdom
All details  
1992
2010
2016
2017
Eligibility criteria
Category B pensions (BL Pension for those who are currently married or in a civil partnership)
  • An individual who is not entitled to a category A pension because they do not satisfy the contribution conditions may be able to get a category BL pension based on the contributions of their current or deceased spouse or civil partner instead.
  • An individual who is married or in a civil partnership qualifies for a category BL pension if: 1) their spouse or civil partner is entitled to a category A pension (he or she satisfies the contribution conditions outlined in the minimum qualifications for the old-age pension; and 2) both the individual and the spouse or civil partner are aged over SRA.
  • Divorced spouses do not qualify for a Category BL pension.

Note: Until April 6, 2010, individuals were not able to receive a category BL pension until their partner actually starts claiming his/her category A pension. From April 6, 2010 onwards, individuals can claim a category BL pension if they are aged over SRA as soon as their partner becomes eligible for his/her category A pension, regardless of whether he/she actually claims it.

Composite pension
  • An individual with a reduced entitlement to a category A pension (i.e., not enough qualifying years to be entitled to the full category A pension) can increase their pension by combining it with whatever category BL or category B pension they are entitled to based on the contribution record of their current spouse or civil partner (known as an ABL pension) or their deceased spouse or civil partner (known as an AB pension).

Improving one’s record ("Top-up", Category A pension)
  • If an individual does not have full entitlement to a category A pension based on their own contribution record, even after taking into account credits and HRP, the contributions of a deceased spouse or civil partner – or of a divorced spouse or former civil partner where the partnership has been dissolved – may be able to be used to 'top-up’ their benefit. The contribution record of a deceased/former spouse/civil partner can be used if: (a) the claimant has been married (or in a civil partnership); and (b) in respect of the tax years up to and including the year the marriage or civil partnership ended (through death, divorce, dissolution or annulment), the claimant does not satisfy the contribution conditions for a category A pension based on their own contributions; and (c) the claimant did not remarry (or form a new civil partnership) before reaching the SRA.
  • The contribution record of a deceased or former spouse could not, however, be used if the individual had reached SRA before 1979/80 and the marriage ended before that date. If a claimant has had more than one marriage or civil partnership, then these provisions only apply to the last marriage or civil partnership.
  • Same rule applies to dissolved civil partnership.

Note: The term 'dissolution’ is used if civil partners legally separate - it is the equivalent of divorce for married couples. State Pension rules are the same as those described for divorced people.
Statutory retirement age
The SRA is the same for Category A (own benefit) and Category B pensions (spouse benefit).
  • The SRA is 65 for men and was 60 for women between 1948 and April 2010. Between April 2010 and March 2020, the SRA for women increased by one month every month (by date of birth) until the SRA for women reaches 65 (this was legislated in the Pensions Act 1995). See Table and Table.
  • The Pensions Act 2007 announced further increases in the SRA for both men and women in order to help ensure the financial sustainability of the state pension system in the face of increasing life expectancy. The SRA is currently scheduled to be increased to 66 between 2024 and 2026 (again, one month every month), to 67 between 2034 and 2036 and to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
  • The Pensions Act 2011 accelerated the timetable so women’s state pension age reaches 65 by 2018. The state pension age will then rise for both men and women to 66 between 2018 and 2020.
Benefit reduction for claiming early
Early claiming not available
Benefit increase for delayed claiming
Yes
 United States
All details  
1992
2000
2015
2017
Eligibility criteria
  • The spouse must be aged 62 or older and have been married to the insured for at least one year before he or she applied for benefits;
  • any age if caring for a child younger than age 16 (no limit if the child receives disability benefits).
  • Generally, a divorced spouse must have been married to the insured for at least 10 years and be currently unmarried.
Statutory retirement age
The original Social Security Act of 1935 set the minimum age for receiving full retirement benefits at 65. The 1983 Amendments phased in a gradual increase in the age for collecting full Social Security retirement benefits. The statutory retirement age (SRA) will increase from 65 to 67 over a 22-year period, with an 11-year hiatus at which the retirement age will remain at 66. See Table for details.
  • For persons born in 1938 or later, their Social Security benefit may be affected by a provision that raises the age at which full Social Security benefits are payable.
  • The age for collecting full Social Security retirement benefits will gradually increase from 65 to 67 over a 22-year period beginning in 2000 for those retiring at 62.
  • The earliest a person can start receiving reduced Social Security retirement benefits will remain age 62.
Benefit reduction for claiming early
Yes
Benefit increase for delayed claiming
The pension is increased for each year the insured defers retirement beyond SRA, up to age 70. After age 70 there are no more increases as a result of delaying benefits. See Formula (for own-old age benefit, see Formula)