My Mom is 88 and Dad is 96... both living. I just found out that my Mom who only worked 1 job for a few months 66 years ago, was claiming her own paltry Social Security... rather than applying for the Social Security Spousal Benefits she could have had by being married to Dad. Is there anything restitution to be had for this grave error? Is she only just now eligible for the Social Security Spousal Benefits with only 6 months of retroaction? Please advise. Thanks!

  • 2
    If she only worked for a few months, wouldn't her own Social Security benefit be not paltry, but zero? I thought getting any individual (as opposed to spousal) payment required at least 10 years of work history.
    – nanoman
    Mar 30, 2020 at 23:14
  • It was probably a year or two of work max
    – Sherry
    Mar 31, 2020 at 1:01
  • 1
    I'm wondering then if there's more to your mother's situation. It would be good to start with a clear understanding of the benefit she's getting now, and then figure out what if anything can be changed for the better. You seem to be reacting suddenly to something you saw or heard. Perhaps take a second look and verify that she's getting an individual benefit and what work history it's calculated from.
    – nanoman
    Mar 31, 2020 at 1:41
  • Spousal benefit is maximum 50% of the full benefit your dad gets. Is Mom getting somewhere in that ballpark? If she worked for 1 year, her benefit would be zero. Even if there was no minimum credits, if she worked 1 year, her benefit would be about $33 per month in this hypothetical scenario.
    – Damila
    Mar 31, 2020 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


You can't go back in the past and change it, it is limited to the six months.
Apply for the better amount now, before she loses more time.

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