H, a fully insured worker, who was born January 23, 1898, filed application for old-age insurance benefits in July 1961. His wife, W, age 66, filed application for wife's insurance benefits on his earnings record at the same time. Under the Social Security Amendments of 1961, a man who is fully insured can become entitled to old-age insurance benefits at age 62. However, August 1961 is the first month for which a man under age 65 can become entitled to such benefits. Accordingly, H became entitled to benefits beginning August 1961.
H's primary insurance amount, based on his average earnings, was $87, which would be the amount of his old-age insurance benefit if he were age 65 or over in the first month for which he was entitled to benefits. However, since the first month of his entitlement is 17 months before the month in which he would attain age 65, his old-age insurance benefit was reduced to $78.80 under section 202(q) of the Act.
To become entitled to wife's insurance benefits under section 202(b) of the Act, W must (in addition to certain other requirements, all of which were met when she filed application in July 1961) be the wife of a man entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits. Since August 1961 is the first month for which H was entitled to benefits, W became entitled to wife's insurance benefits beginning that month.
It remains to determine the amount of the wife's insurance benefit to which W is entitled.
Under section 202(b)(2) of the Act, a wife's insurance benefit is equal to one-half of her husband's primary insurance amount, except as provided in section 202(q). The latter section requires reduction of a wife's insurance benefit where a woman elects to become entitled to such benefits beginning with a month in which she is under age 65 and does not have in her care a child of the worker entitled to child's insurance benefits.
In the present case since H's primary insurance amount was $87, W's wife's insurance benefit unreduced is one-half of this amount, or $43.50. This is so even though H's old-age insurance benefit was reduced, since a wife's insurance benefit is based on her husband's primary insurance amount and not on the amount of his old-age insurance benefit. Moreover, since W was not under age 65 in the first month of her entitlement to benefits, no reduction of her benefit is required under section 202(q).
Accordingly, it is held that W is entitled to a monthly wife's insurance benefit of $43.50 beginning August 1961.
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