Approximately $10 BIllion in Social Security Benefits go unclaimed every year, primarily because married couples do not know how to optomize their social security benefits.  Being wise about these spousal benefits and how they work, can result in increased social security income  for a married couple.  According to a recent article in AARP Magazine by Lynn Brenner, in some cases by electing a spousal benefit first, and by later electing your own benefit on your own work record, you may increase your  household income substantially over time.  Since you can’t get both of them at the same time, the trick is to elect these benefits consecutively and in the right order. Sometimes you can opt to claim one, and then later opt to claim the other, with the net result being increased income for the household.  The article discusses little known strategies for Two-Income Couples, One-Income Couples, and Divorced Singles.  Well worth reading!