[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series of Social Security-related columns by AmeriFlex representatives. Click here for a related article.]

Q. What are the eligibility requirements for collecting spousal benefits?

A. In states that recognize common law marriage, Social Security spousal benefits will be paid to a partner if the couple’s relationship has been contracted in that state and the primary worker resides in the state where spousal benefits are being requested.

As California is not a common law marriage state, a couple must have been married for at least nine months in order for a spouse to be able to qualify for spousal benefits.

Q. Are spousal benefits subject to the same earnings tests as primary workers?

A. Yes. Before reaching full retirement age, a spouse collecting a spousal benefit is subject to a deduction of benefits — $1 for every $2 you earn above $14,640.

Readers: Email your Social Security questions to bibi.taylor@ameriflex.com.

— Justin Anderson, CFP, CRC, CLU, is a financial planner and Bibi Taylor, MBA, is the Social Security project coordinator at AmeriFlex, 3700 State St., Suite 310, in Santa Barbara. Call 805.898.0893 for more information. Financial advisors and registered representatives associated with AmeriFlex Financial Services offer securities and advisory services through SagePoint Financial Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through AmeriFlex Financial Services, which is not affiliated with SagePoint Financial Inc. or registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, MI, MO, NC, ND, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, PR, SC, TX, VA, WA, WI.