Are You Losing Your Social Security Benefits?

QuestionI recently heard that I may be entitled to collect Social Security benefits when I retire based on my ex-husband’s earnings. But I looked at my divorce decree and it doesn’t say anything about it. Did I miss the boat?

AnswerHere’s some good news about your divorce! If you were married to your ex-spouse for ten years before your divorce became final, you are entitled to Social Security benefits based on his earnings by operation of federal law.

That means it doesn’t have to be addressed in your divorce papers to be effective.

You may apply to the Social Security Administration for benefits on your ex’s earnings record if you are at least 62 and aren’t remarried.

Those benefits are called “derivative benefits,” and they equal one-half of your ex-husband’s benefits.

He may threaten to keep working and thwart your ability to claim benefits against his record, but his threats are empty. It isn’t necessary for him to have retired for you to begin collecting.

Unlike other pensions, the social security benefits you receive will be based on his entire earnings record, not just his earnings during the time you were married.

The Social Security benefits you receive won’t reduce the amount he receives. If he’s remarried, it won’t reduce what his current wife is entitled to receive. And if he has a new family, it won’t reduce the amount his young children receive either.

You can only receive one Social Security check, so if your own earnings record entitles you to more money than the derivative benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings, you’ll collect benefits based on the highest amount to which you are entitled.

If you have more than one ex-spouse, and you were married to both of them for ten years or longer, you’ll collect based on whichever earnings record gives you the higher benefits.

If you are a government employee, your Social Security benefits will be reduced by a portion of any government pension that you are receiving based on your own earnings.

But if you receive a government pension because an ex-spouse worked for the government, it won’t impair your ability to collect Social Security

Comments

  1. If you remarry after age 60, you can still receive social security benefits based on your ex’s earnings according to the government website.

    • Jerry white says:

      If I get married after age 65 can I still continue to recieve social security benefits on my ex’s earnings?

      • Yes, if you marry at age 60 or older, you may continue to collect based on your former spouse’s earnings, or if it would be more beneficial, you can switch over to spousal benefits based on your current spouse’s earnings as soon as he applies for benefits.

  2. If you are older than your ex husband, you have to wait for him to turn 62 before you can receive his ss benefits. And, if you take the lower benefits when he turns 62, you cannot than get the full monthly amount that you could have had you waited until his full retirement age ( around 67 yrs). So if you are older than your husband, as I was, beware! You may not be able to depend on his ss benefits when you need them.

    • You can get full divorced spouse social security benefits once your ex-husband is eligible to receive benefits at age 62 (he doesn’t have to actually receive them). Whether the benefits are reduced or not depends on your age at the date you begin collecting. So if you are at full retirement age of 66, you will get full divorced spouse benefits, even if your ex is less than full retirement age.

  3. I was married to my 1st husband 25yrs, whom is now deceased.I had remarried before his demise, am I eligible for his social security or derivatives. He was 66 and I am 59.

    • If you are currently married, you are eligible for spousal benefits based on your current husband’s earnings history. If you are divorced, then you can collect widows benefits based on your first husband’s history.

  4. im married to a city worker, he;s getting pension from another state.
    he ‘s actualy a city worker for another state and getting another pension plus
    he keep working at the same job. he sign another contract for 5 years more.
    he is 60 years old.( im 70.)
    we are separated. can i collect some money?
    Sep 12-2013
    florida.

  5. can I use my ex-husband va loan to go back to school he has passed away he would have been 64 years old this months or can I get his ss

  6. Hi, my husband and i have been married for 3 years which is too early to get divorce but our relationship can’t be fixed anymore. It’s getting worse and worse. So we decide to divorce. But i’m worried if he won’t give me anything because the property is only on his name. Can i still get something from him ?
    Thank you for your attention

    Regards
    Ina

  7. I was married for twenty yeas to my first husband am ii entitled to some of company s retirement pension?

  8. Ii started drawing on my SS, at 62. I will be 64 this year. My husband and I are getting divorced. If I already started drawing on mine and his is more, can I start drawing on his instead? He will also be 64 this year.

    • If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on his record if you have been divorced for at least two years. Those benefits are equal to 50% of what he receives.

  9. I was divorced after 23 years of marriage. My own benefit amount is larger than my ex’s so I cannot collect anything from his. I was told when he passes away I can file for his benefit.What amount would I be able to receive

    • If he dies, you will step into his shoes and receive the full amount he was receiving. That is true even if he is remarried and leaves a widow behind who is also entitled to collect his full benefits.

      • Thank you for your answer but I am still a little confused Will my benefit be lowered or will I lose mine if I collect his

      • I have been receiving a partial amount of my ex husband;s social security. When he passes away will I receive his full social security check at the time? I am not remarried. Thank you.

        • Divorced spouse benefits, such as you are receiving now, are up to 50% of his benefits. Surviving divorced spouse benefits, which you will receive if you survive him, are up to 100% of his benefits.

  10. Thank you for your answer but I am still confused. Will my benefit amount be lowered if I collected his benefit

  11. Hi I have a strange question , I thought I was divorced, and my husband and I were married 1973 and thought I was divorced 1987 husband remarried????? 1993 now he was retired and receiving his social security and was married to another person they were married in Las Vegas. Now both DECEASED and nobody can claim any benefits but I was his first wife and more then likely still legally would of been married, because I never received divorce papers years ago and my husband was a alcoholic also so I have looked every where for my divorce papers AT VITAL SATISTICS telephone # after telephone # and they are know where to be found. And I am trying to get my spousal benefits since I am 60 trying to work with social security I have my married certificate, shows I was married, and there is paper work of him being married again but I did not receive divorce papers and both deceased no divorce papers HOW CAN I RECEIVE MY HUSBANDS SOCIAL SECURITY BENIFITS WITHOUT DIVORCE PAPERS people marry even if they are married or thought they were divorced how do I get through this mess its been 41 years now my husband died 2011 ??????????

    • If you are divorced, then you are entitled to survivor divorce benefits. If you are still married, then you are entitled to widow benefits. So either way, it seems to me you are entitled to benefits. So tell them you were still married, since it doesn’t look like you were divorced.

  12. Ok..tough question..married for close to 16 years…divorced.New York resident…I remarried foolishly for two months and immediately divorced (same sex marriage before being valid in New York…it was in Massachusetts ) but lasted two…three months…
    Fast forward 5 yrs..recently engaged….female as well..same sex (now legal in NY)….
    I am 52… She is 47…. If we legally marry do I lose social security benefits from my original marriage ? My fiancé is on SSD and works minimal….or did I already lose them when I had the brief 3 mo marriage from Massachusetts ?
    Not sure what the legality of remarriage is….I know my social security is minimal..worked many years off the books….his would be greater ….if we were to marry, would I then be entitled to her benefits, although they are SSD….not SSI….any thoughts? Thanks so much for any info…was on hold for one hour with social security and finally hung up. terri

    • You have 10 years until you will be eligible to collect reduced divorced spouse or spousal benefits and 14+ years until you are eligible to collect full benefits, so the laws could change between now and then. But as things are right now: If you are married when you reach social security age, you can collect spousal benefits based on your current spouse’s history. If you are divorced again by then, you can collect based on your first ex’s benefits, since you are no longer married to anyone. If your new marriage lasts 10 years or longer before it ends in divorce, you can collect based on either of your ex’s, or your own, whichever is higher. You can’t collect SSD benefits, but her SSD will convert to regular Social Security benefits once she reaches retirement age.

  13. if i start SS benefits early at age 62 on my ex husbands earnings, which are significantly HIGHER than mine ever thought of being…what amount do they reduce…his benefit package at his age at 62 or his benefits at full retirement age. ie: at 62 on 250,000. a year income or his age at 70 same income? do they reduce my cut on his full retirement age benefit or at the age i retire (62). he is 4 months younger than me. wow. this is tough!

    • You say he’s 4 months younger than you, so you can’t collect when you turn 62, since he’ll just be 61, so you’ll have to wait several months until he’s of retirement age. spousal benefits are at most only half of what he is eligible for. You’ll get about 72% of that if you begin collecting at your age 62. Your divorced spouse benefits are based on what his earnings have been, not when he chooses to retire. If he earns 250,000, his social security benefits won’t be any greater than if he earned half that, because the maximum taxed for social security is capped in the low 100,000s.

  14. Correct. I forgot to mention that I would not be collecting until he turned age 62. I love my career I have chosen and probably wouldn’t think of retiring early, but my bones are saying something different! Maybe a different, easier job would be more appropriate. After having that conversation with some friends, this conversation came up and none of us had any idea about benefits. The internet has been helpful, but your answer was just what I was looking for and could not find. Thank you sincerely for your prompt reply and your assistance to not only me, but hundreds more I am sure. Be blessed…

  15. My ex-husband is retired and I will be eligible to receive a portion of his retirement. Do I have to claim this as income on both state (NY) and federal income taxes?

    • Yes, retirement benefits are generally taxable — it is possible that a portion was funded with after-tax money and so would be non-taxable, but the 1099R you receive will identify that portion, if any.

  16. I spoke with SS last week and I was informed that even though we were married over 20 years, neither one of us have remarried, the person at SS I spoke with says if my Ex passes away I cannot get Divorced Widows SS. I am on Disabillity and have been since 2005. Everything I’ve read on the Internet says I can draw my Ex’s full Benifits if he passes away before I do. I am a little over 1 year older than my ex, when he turns 62 I’ll be 63. I’m so confused and don’t know which way to go. I’m thinking just draw my SS until I can draw off my Ex’s.
    Please help me figure this mess out and help me do what is best for me when I turn 62.

    • You were either given bad advice or you didn’t understand what they told you. You are entitled to divorced spouse benefits, but you cannot get both those and the disability benefits, so you will get the greater of the two. A couple of months before you turn 62 you can contact them to see what will produce the greatest benefits for you. Right now you can’t receive divorced spouse benefits because neither of you is 62 or older. And you can’t received divorced survivor spouse benefits because he is still alive.

  17. I am 62 years old and my ex-husband is 65. Can I get my social security benefits now and then start collecting one-half of his when I turn 66?

    • Maybe, maybe no. If you apply for benefits before full retirement age 66, they will give you the highest benefit available, either your own benefits or an amount equivalent to half of his.

      • Expanding on Lynn’s question, as I’m in the same boat, I THINK what she was asking is: If I take my own reduced social security benefits now (which would be much lower than if I took my ex-husbands), THEN, when I’m 66 and at the age of full benefits can I reapply to get the FULL 50% of my ex-husband’s benefits? Or will I still be at the reduced 75% of half of his benefits since I took my own early?

  18. Hi im 61 yrs old currently married for over 32 yrs. I have not worked since we were married. All of my children are grown. I unfortunately have been in a relationship where I dont have access to any of his financial info and assets. He is a yr older than I and still employed. Hes a federal employee. I have not earned enough income to ever apply for my own social security. He however has always been employed and In control of everything. Can I apply for spousal social security without him or consent even if we are still married and hes still working or do I need him to sign anything in order to apply and receive benefits for myself off of his benefits. If we decide to divorce will it affect my benefit. I just want to know my options because Ive solely depended on him for income and just trying to figure out options and resources.

    • You can receive spousal social security benefits once you are both of retirement age and he has applied for benefits. But as a federal employee he may not be covered by social security, so his earnings record may not qualify him for much in benefits.

    • If you divorce, you should be eligible for a portion of his retirement benefits (CSRS or FERS) and maybe survivor benefits too. If he has a Thrift Savings Plan account, you may get a share of that too. Be sure to consult a lawyer.

  19. My x and I were married over 15 years. He is 66 now and I am 62 next month. I have been remarried for about 10 years and my present husband will be 62 month after me but he will continue to work.
    Am I entitled to some of my x’s SS even if he is still working? Right now I am on SSI and receive no check but my heath benefits are paid by my state. Should I start to collect mine next week? Really need the money. How do I ask SS for ex husband benefits if I am entitled?

    • You are not entitled to collect divorced spouse benefits since you are remarried. Once your current spouse applies for benefits, you could collect spousal benefits if they exceed your own benefits. You can ask social security whether you would be entitled to benefits on your own record at age 62, based on how much you have earned during your lifetime.

  20. Cheryl Rachetto says:

    My first husband and I divorced after 25 years of marriage. We raised two children and I was a stay at home mom which was agreed upon. My husband made a good salary for the majority of those years. My husband filed for bankruptcy after the divorce because of the savings and loans failure in the 1980′s as his construction development company suffered. In our divorce decree he was to be responsible for all the bills and I got furniture and our house in foreclosure. With a new teaching credential I started working in Idaho and was forced to file bankruptcy after my former husband filed. I remarried just a week short of my 50th birthday(not knowing anything about social security benefits). My husband helped me pay off school loans and I am a half owner of our house but I have no retirement. Idaho’s education system did not allow me to work long enough. My husband gets a federal government retirement which he splits with his first wife of 24 years. He does not have Social Security. So, my question is: Can I, with the help of a Social Security attorney, get the Social Security benefits I am entitled to from my first husband? My own Social Security benefits if I take it now at age 63 would probably be $500…if I wait till 70, $1,000. I really need half of my first husbands Social Security benefits. I shouldn’t be punished because I remarried.

  21. I’m married, and don’t have a long working history.
    We’ve been married for 40 years, and my husband
    Is two years from full retirement. He is not in the best health.
    What will happen if he dies before his planned retirement?
    Will I be able to apply for widow’s benefit, even though he did not
    Get a chance to apply for his? I am four years younger.
    Thank you for your help.

    • If your husband dies, you will be eligible for widow’s benefits based on his social security earnings history once you are age 62 (reduced benefits) or age 60 if you have children. If you wait until your full retirement age you can get full benefits. The benefits are computed based on what his earnings record would have qualified him to get at retirement.

  22. Was married only once and for more than 20 years to guy made a lot of money most of those years, I was home with the children-now grown, no college degree (am in process now), and little, if any real work history – same story I read from others over and over.
    1. I would like to remarry someday but am very concerned if it does not last 10 years then I am totally out of luck with any SS from either 1st or 2nd – Is this correct?
    2. What if I remarry and #2 dies in less than 10 years and I am a widow – How does SS work then?
    3. My state is not a common law marriage state but I struggle personally with my Christian beliefs about living with someone rather than marriage – due to SS benefits from ex (#1) thus –
    If I wait until I am 60 (exactly?) or later to remarry to #2 and then stay marry then do I qualify for ex’s (#1) Social Security benefits?
    4. Can the SS laws change within next 10 or more years as I am 52 this year?
    5. How and where do I find out what the ex’s SS benefits are when I am divorced for several years and there is no communication with him?

    Thank you and I truly appreciate the website and also Ginita’s time and energy answering questions!

    • 1. If your second marriage ends in divorce, you will be eligible for divorced spouse benefits based on Husband #1 when you reach social security age, generally equal to half of what he gets.
      2. If your second marriage ends in the death of Husband #2, you will be eligible for widow benefits based on his earnings history, generally 100% of what he would have gotten.
      3. If you are 60 or older when you remarry, while Husband #1 is alive you aren’t eligible for benefits based on his earnings history. But when Husband #1 dies you will be eligible for divorced survivor benefits based on his earnings history, 100% of what he would have gotten.
      4. If Congress changes the laws, then the laws change. Your age is not of concern to them.
      5. Contact the Social Security Administration http://www.ssa.gov to get the information you need.

  23. i’m getting a check off my husband ss and my disability he was 73 and i;m 59 now but if i remarried would i still get his checks too we where married 25 years

    • It’s hard to tell from what you say. If you are divorced from your former husband, then upon remarriage you would no longer get social security benefits based on his earnings record, but you’d be eligible for benefits based on your new spouse’s record. If you are a widow and you wait to remarry until age 60 or older, you may continue collecting social security widow benefits. Your disability benefits should continue no matter what your marital status.

  24. Hi, I am 58 and my ex- husband is 68 (we were married for 22 yrs). At full retirement, my SS benefits will be higher than my ex’s. But, can I choose to collect based on his at full retirement age so that my actual benegit can continue to grow until Im 70 and then, at 70 switch over to collect based on my benefit?

  25. I’m 63 and single. My ex-husband passed away 10 years ago, and we were married for 19 years. I visited the social security office before I turned 62, and the worker convinced me not to take my own SS benefit while I am working. She indicated I would be locked in at a lower rate if I started taking it now. I make about $43,000 a year, but my deceased ex-husband’s benefit would be more than mine whether I drew it now or at age 66. Am I losing money now? Can I draw social security on my work record now at a reduced rate and still continue to work, and then stop that benefit and begin to draw the full benefit on my deceased ex-husband’s work record when I reach full retirement age of 66?

    • If you draw social security benefits before full retirement age, they will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn above $15,000, so yours would be reduced by almost $1,200 as long as you were working. In addition, they would be reduced by about 25% because you are starting before age 66, and that reduction is permanent. So by starting now you’d lock yourself into a reduced benefit for life and get practically nothing. That simply isn’t worth it, so wait until you are age 66 to collect, unless you retire earlier.

      • Thank you for your answer, but I’m still wondering why I can’t collect mine now, and then collect his later on.

  26. My wife passed in nov 2013 I retired march 2014 can I get any of her soc sec disablility money as her widower

    • Disability income goes to those who are disabled, so you cannot get disability payments unless you are disabled. When you apply for social security benefits, be sure to let them know that you are a widower, so that they give you the highest retirement benefit for which you qualify.

  27. I was divorced after a 41 year marriage. I am now 65 years old and will turn 66 this year. I have not remarried and I plan to draw off of my ex- husbands SS. He retired shortly after the divorce and started drawing his SS at age 62. My question is, would it be better to wait a few more years, to say age 70? Would my monthly benefit increase?

  28. elizabeth kasuba says:

    I was married for 15 years and then divorced. Started to collect SS at 62 widows SS from him;.

    He remarried and had a pension their marriage only lasted 4-5 years and then he passed. She was collecting his pension. She has remarried. Does she loose his pension and can I collect any of it if not all?

    They were only married a short time and I have never remarried.
    Than-you

    Liz

    • It would be rare for a widow’s pension to terminate on remarriage. To determine what portion of his pension you are entitled to, you would have to look tot he provisions of your divorce decree.

  29. My husband passed away 2/1/2014 he was 76 he was getting checks every month ( I am not old enough for SS yet) ,but should I have received the SS check for Feb.

    • He was not entitled to a check for February since he did not live for the entire month. You can begin getting reduced widow’s benefits at age 60, or full widow’s benefits if you wait until you are full retirement age to collect.

  30. I ask you some question. I am 68,SSD and receive retirement check from my deceased husband.
    My boyfriend have SSDI and is 64. We both are deaf. We are not worked. If we get married again and want to stay marriage last cuz of our age. Do I would lose my retirement from my husband?? Please let me know.

  31. You answered me above on June 3. Thank you for your answer, but I’m still wondering why I can’t collect mine now, and then collect his later on. The social security website says that my earnings will reduce my benefit only until I reach full retirement age. After full retirement age they recalculate my benefit amount to pay me the amount that was previously withheld. Some people say my benefit will go up at full retirement age if I collect while I am still working; I’ve also been told it will get stuck at a lower rate if I start too early. I don’t get it. Then, also, if I took my SS now, could I stop mine and switch to getting my deceased ex-husband’s full SS later when I reach full retirement age?

  32. Never mind, I got an answer from SS that I would be locked into the age 62 amount even after the adjustment. Thanks.

  33. Hi,
    I was just told by a family member that I am entitled to my ex-husband’s pension. My ex-husband just retired and is getting a pension from work, I will be 62 this year, we were married for 14 yr. I remarried, and I am not divorced from my second husband. SS told me that I will only receive less than $300 on my own accumulated benefits, due to never having work experience.

    Thanks

    • When you divorced, his pension should have been discussed in the divorce settlement and divorce decree. If it says there that you are to get a portion of the pension, then you are.

      When your husband applies for social security benefits, you may be able to get spousal benefits if they exceed your benefits on your own work record.

  34. If my husband and I divorce after 21 years of marriage, will I be entitled to his government retirement benefits, like those who would receive SS, or would it have to be stipulated in a divorce decree?

  35. samantha says:

    Hi,

    I’m 64 years old, and am 9 months older than my husband. I’ve never worked, and my only benefits will come from spousal social security retirement.

    My husband is still working, but plans to retire at 64 or 65 years of age. He plans to collect his social security benefits as soon as he becomes full retirement age, at 66.

    Since I’m 9 months older than he, should he file and suspend when he’s 65 years and 3 months old so that I can get my benefits for the 9 months? If he does that, then:

    1. Do I get the full 50% of his benefits that he would have gotten at age 66?
    2. Would his benefits at 66 or beyond be reduced in any way since he filed/suspend at age 65 years and 3 months?

    Thank you very much for your help.

  36. My husband is collecting a VA disability check and also Social Security so in total he receives more than $5000.00 a month, he is 67 and I am 57. We are divorcing after 37 years of marriage. My question is, will I receive half of his SS income even though I’m not of age? Do you know if I will get any portion of his VA disability check? I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to manage financially, I have been out of the workforce since we had 4 children years ago.

    • Once you are of retirement age you can collect social security based on your own earnings or divorced spouse benefits based on his. In most states disability income belongs to the disabled spouse, but you’ll need to discuss that with you lawyer, as well as the issue of alimony, since he receives more each month than you do.

  37. Maureen says:

    I just divorced at age 53 after 28 years of marriage. If I collect on my ex-husband’s Social Security when I turn 62, will I be able to let my own benefits grow until I am age 67 and then switch to my own benefits at age 67 or 70? Will my benefits grow while I take his?

    • If you collect before full retirement age, you’ll have to take the greatest benefit available to you. So your strategy will only work if your divorced spouse benefits were greater than your own benefits. If you can afford to wait, a better solution would be to take divorced spouse benefits at full retirement age and then let your own benefits grow by 8% a year until age 70.

      • Maureen says:

        My Divorced spouses benefits will be much more than mine. If I take his at age 62, can I then take mine at age 70?

  38. My husband is 10 years younger than I am. I deferred my earnings for many years to put him through school and to help him establish his career. Currently he makes aprox 15 times the income that I make, will ever make or ever would have made. He has asked for a divorce after 20 years of marriage. I am trying to figure on what to ask for spousal support based on my future SSI benefits. I will be 60 years old this year. I know I should wait until I reach full retirement age to collect my SSI benefits but I’m not sure how to optimize SSI benefits based on his vs my SSI. Do I take my benefits at full retirement age and then transfer to his benefits when he is 62 (and I am 72) or take mine at full retirement and then would need to wait to take his benefits when he is at full retirement age. Additionally, would there be a difference in the divorced spouse benefits and divorced survivor benefits (should he die before me) with me as the older, lower earning spouse in a divorce.

    • You will collect Social Security benefits based on your own earnings at full retirement age, and then switch to divorced spouse benefits once he reaches retirement age (62 or older), if that yields a greater benefit amount. When he dies, you will receive surviving divorced spouse benefits which are equal to what he would have received if he had lived.

      • Are the divorced spouse benefits 50% of his benefits when he reaches 62yo? And waiting until HE reaches full retirement until I collect his benefits does or does not increase the benefits that I would be eligible for as a divorced spouse?

  39. Elaine Murphy says:

    Barbara,
    My husband died 11 years ago at age 48 I would like to retire at 60 and collect widows benefits, my earliest retirement age is 62 1/2 or 66 I was borne in 57, he was born in 54. Can I collect widows benefits until I am at my earliest retirement age and then switch to mine as I assume mine would be more as I have worked longer than he did?

    • No, that won’t work if your own benefit is higher that the widows benefits. If you take benefits before full retirement age of 66, they will pay you reduced benefits based on the greatest benefit available, widows benefits or your own.

  40. I’ m in the process of divorce and receiving social security benefit from him. I’m not working and that’s the only income I got. If the divorce is final, will I loose my social security earning from my soon to ex-husband?
    Do I have to re-apply again? He is the one who wants the divorce and more than 10 years that we are married.

    • It is my understanding that if you are receiving a spousal benefit, upon divorce that benefit will be converted to a divorced spouse benefit with no interruption in payments and no 2-year waiting period that is customary after divorce.

  41. Elaine Murphy says:

    Is there a way to find out what the amount the widows benefit would be?

  42. I am going through a divorce which will hopefully end soon. Husband is 64, has been out of the home for one year and poised to receive approx. $1000 monthly from my SS in 2015. He does not have much in SS benefits ’cause his school system does not contribute to SS. I will turn 66 in December. Can I apply and suspend my benefits to receive his until I turn 70?

    On the other hand can I suspend my benefits for at least six months and then apply for the lumpsum of approx. $12,000? I need some cash in hand.

    Thanks

    • When you are 66 you can apply for your full social security benefits. If you wait until a later time to collect, you will receive a higher amount (8% higher for each year you wait). If you want cash on hand, I suggest you apply for your benefits at age 66 and put the monthly benefit you receive into a bank account to build up a cash balance. At 66, you could delay filing for your own benefits so they will grow, and instead apply for divorced spouse benefits once you’ve been divorced for two years, but since he doesn’t have much in benefits that won’t get you much if anything.

  43. Sylvia Roach says:

    I’ve been receiving monthly from my ex-husbands disability. My question is can I also get money from his social security. I will be 66 in Oct. and I’m 2 weeks older than he is. I live in Ky and he moved to Tx. So didn’t know if I could get both and if any increases when we turn 66.

  44. When my ex-spouse and I turn 66 in Oct 2014 will I be able to draw off his disability and his social security and will my part increase?

    • Divorced spouse benefits are the equivalent of 1/2 of what he is receiving. When he is 66 his disability payments will be converted to social security retirement benefits and will probably be the same amount, so your divorced spouse benefit probably won’t increase.

  45. Hi,
    After 30 years of marriage my wife and I got a divorce. I am now 74 and started collecting my SS at the age of 62. My ex-wife started collecting from my SS at her age of 66. When she turned 70, she started collecting from her own account. She worked until she was 70 and so did I.
    If we remarried, how would that affect our benefits? Would it be better if we just lived together?

  46. HI,
    After 30 years of marriage my husband and i got a divorce. My husband is now 74 and started collecting his SS at the age of 62. I started collecting from his SS account at age of 66. When I turned 70 I started collecting from my own account. I worked until I was 70 and so did my husband.
    If we remarried, how would that affect our benefits? Would it be better if we just lived together?
    Susan

    • If you marry, you will be entitled to collect based on your ex-spouse’s history, your new spouse’s history, or your own history whichever is greater. From what you say, I’m guessing it’s the latter. If your ex-spouse or your current spouse dies, you’ll be able to collect widow’s benefits equal to 100% of their benefit, if it exceeds your own benefit.

  47. I am collecting 1/2 of my ex-spouse’s SS. Neither of us has remarried. If he passes away will I continue to receive the same amount, or will I get the widow benefit of 100% ?

  48. was married for 30yrs, Now divorced the ex has quit is job and living on his pension. I received half of it. My question is I am still working I’m only 53yrs old , does the ex get to collect on my social security the 15yrs that I am still working after the divorce. And will my SS check de reduced because Im collecting on his pension?? Thanks

    • Since you and he were married for 10 years or longer, he will be eligible to collect divorced spouse benefits based on your social security history, if they are greater than his own benefits. Your social security check won’t be reduced because you are collecting on his pension.

  49. I divorced my husband after 14 years of marriage and in the divorce decree he was to pay me half of the equity in the house when the divorce was finalized and half of the money in 5 years. His 5 years is up and i was wondering if I could get the other half of the money he owes me out of his retirement account?

    • You can certainly renegotiate your divorce decree to provide that a portion of his retirement account is to be transferred to you or to an IRA in your name. You’ll need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to do that and you’ll have to pay tax on any money you get transferred to you directly; money transferred to your IRA will be taxable down the road when you withdraw it. So considering the taxes, retirement funds aren’t as valuable as hard cold non-taxable cash to compensate you for equity in the home. You’d be better off keeping your agreement as it is and letting him withdraw the funds needed to pay you and pay the tax on them.

  50. Hello I’m from Texas. I was wondering I was married to my ex-husband for 23yrs. He passed away 2wks after our divorce can I still claim his social security benefits. We have a son 21 yrs. old

  51. Susan McGrath says:

    I am 61 years old, am divorced (was married for 12 years, no children). Ex husband remarried, had 1 child and is divorced again. He is 60 years old.

    I will retire at the age of 62. I would like to collect SS on my ex-husband’s earnings until I am 66 and then collect SS on my own earnings (I think they are larger than his).

    Is this possible?

  52. hello,

    I am 49 , my husband 40. We have a 6 year old child whom I have stayed home to care for.

    to be clear-

    as the law currently works… my best option with regard to collecting maximum SS benefits would be to collect on my own record at 67, then switch to collecting on his when he turns 62?

    And not marry again until after age of 60?

    If I married again and divorced would I be eligible for the ss benefits of my first husband?

    • You are married, and yet your question talks about marrying again, so I’m a little confused. If you and your husband are married, then you can collect your own benefits at age 67 and then switch to his benefits once he files to collect benefits. If you are divorced and were married for 10 years and not remarried (or remarried after you turned 60) you can switch to his benefit once he turns 62 — you don’t have to wait for him to file. If you marry after age 60, at retirement age you can collect on your own record, your current spouse’s record once he files, or your former spouse’s record once he turns 62, whichever gives you the highest benefit. If your second marriage ended in divorce, you could collect based on his record (if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer) or your first husband’s record, or your own, whichever is greater.

      There is one more option you have, and that’s to begin collecting benefits once you are 62, but that will give you reduced benefits forever more (with the exception of widow’s benefits, which won’t be reduced). And one more wrinkle — you are now 49, which means you are 17+ years away from retirement age — by then, I could guarantee you that these rules will have changed, and I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts they will be even more confusing once that happens.

  53. thanks. you summed it up well…
    BTW – I am divorcing. Husband cheating with parent in my daughter’s kindergarten class…

    No plans to ever marry again…just want to be prepared when deciding on a settlement…

    .

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