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.

        • Ok, so I was married for 37 years and now divorced for 5 years and still single. I am 62 so I am applying for social security benefits on my ex husband’s earning (which are higher than mine).
          If in the future I decide to remarry will I be able to continue to collect the benefits?

          • Yes, since you are 60 or older, if you remarry you’ll be able to continue collecting social security benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings history, or you’ll be able to switch to benefits based on your new spouse’s earnings history, whichever is greater.

          • I am 66 and was on social security disability at age 62. I started collecting my ex spouses social security portion when he turned 62 and his full retirement age us 66 which occurs in oct. 2014. I am thinking of remarrying a man who is 68 and collecting his full benefit. Do I immediately start collecting on new spouses portion if his benefit? Or, do I continue on ex spouses benefit who is now in Oct 66 full retirement age.? Also if ex is going to be full retirement age in oct 2014, will I get more of his social security benefit than when I first started collecting at 62. I certainly do not want to get married and loose ex spouse benefit and not be able to claim new spouses for a year as I understand it to be? Can a I claim more money on ex spouse when he turns 66 even though I started collecting on disability when I was 62 and also on his when he was. 62 ?

          • If you are receiving a divorced-spouse benefit at the time of your remarriage, you will no longer be able to collect based on your former spouse’s earnings history (since you are now married) but you can immediately switch to spousal benefit from your new husband.Since you were receiving a check already, there is no waiting period.

            If you began collecting benefits at age 62, your benefits will always be reduced, no matter whose earnings record you are collecting on, your own or a divorced spouse or a current spouse. It doesn’t matter what age your divorced or current spouse is.

        • Carol Picard says:

          Re: Exspousal Benefits

          If I qualify, can my monthly Social Security check go like this:

          Given: Ex-spouse (husband) receives $1500/mo
          Ex-spouse (wife) receives $1300

          Solution: Seeing I can only received a maximum of $750 of his monthly social security, is it possible to receive $200 of that $750 to match his $1500.

          Thank you.

          • If he paid you $200, then you’d have $1,500 and he’d have $1,300 left, so then he’d have less than you. I don’t know of any state where the goal of spousal support is to equalize the income between the parties, and usually the earning spouse ends up with more than the supported spouse. But you can check with your attorney to be sure.

  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.

    • This helped me so much! I’ve been searching and having no luck!
      THANK YOU!

  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.

      • If you are collecting from ex husband you were married to for 22yrs. And decide to remarry at age 72, can you still collect from ex husband, ( widow benefits ) after you remarry ? Or will you benefits lower to current husband benefits.( if you marry )

  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…

    .

  54. Anita Judkins says:

    Long story short. Mom married and dad died. Drawing on his s.s. Benefits. Ten years later remarried. She said her benefits went down? Fourteen years later husband was collected by his daughter to live with her. He now is no longer in moms life but still married. Should we tell s.s. anc her benefits go back up to what she was drawing prior to marrying this man?
    Thank you

    • Social Security Administration doesn’t care whether they are living together, they just care whether they are married. If they divorce, then SSA should be notified so that your mother can go back to collecting benefits from your father’s history, rather than her current husband’s history.

  55. I was married for 30 years, am divorced and am 68 years old. My ex started drawing ss benefits at age 62. Have contacted Social Security about drawing divorced spouse benefits now until I reach age 70 but have been told by 2 SS employees that I can’t draw on his now and switch to my full benefits at 70. Can you explain why to me?

    • Hmmm, I don’t know. Lots of people draw divorced spouse benefits or spousal benefits (depending on their marital status) and then switch to their own enhanced benefits at age 70. I guess you’ll have to call again and if you get the same answer, ask them to explain exactly why you are not eligible to do that.

  56. jackie whitlock says:

    I am 62 years old and draw 875.00 disability each month. My husband is 19 years my junior. He makes about 95,000.00 a year. I am in the process of filing for a legal separation. Will I be able to draw off of his income once the separation becomes effective? In North Carolina you have to be separated for a year and a day before you can get divorced.

  57. susie white says:

    I am 54 years old and disabled. I am not able to draw SS because I had not worked since 2001. My husband passes away in 2000 and at that time I drew off of him because we had 3 small children. They are all grown now. Since I am disabled shouldn’t I be able to draw widows benefits again? I do get 340.00 a month SSI.

    • There are a number of factors that go into whether you’ll be eligible for reduced widow’s benefits since you are disabled (for example, when your disability occurred), so check with Social Security to be sure.

  58. jackie brown says:

    I am 54 and my husband is 58. He makes much more money than I do. I became unemployed in 2010 and he is still employed. I have several questions. He has been married before for 15 years. Will I be able to collect SS benefits based on his salary if I am married to him for 10 years or more. He worked at his first company for 18 years where he was vested, received stock and will be getting a pension from. Am I entitled to get any portion of the stock, 401K, and pension from company number 1? How do I find out what other things they gave him and what I maybe entitled to from his first company? He is now working for a second company and it has been 10 years now. I know that he has stock, a 401K and a pension coming from his second company. Am I entitled to any thing from the second company. If his ex-wife was married to him longer than I am at the time of our divorce will that affect me getting anything from jobs 1 and 2 along and social security and by what percentage would it affect me. Should we agree to stay married longer than he was married to his ex-wife to improve the amount that I would get?

    • You are entitled to divorced spouse social security benefits if you were married to him for ten years or longer. You may also be entitled to retirement benefits and stock options/RSUs earned by him during your marriage. Consult with an attorney knowledgeable about the divorce laws in your state to determine how much you might receive. Any benefits that were already awarded to his first wife belong to her, of course.

  59. I’m 64, was married for 17years and have been divorced for 24 years. Haven’t remarried. My ex husband will be 64 next month. Can I collect full ex spousal benefits from his earnings now then wait until I’m 70 to let my earnings build up and then collect mine at 70? They’ll be greater than his.

    Also, if I collect ex spousal benefits now will that limit the amount that I can earn as I continue to work full time?

    Thank you.
    Nicki

    • If you begin collecting before age 66, you will receive the highest benefit to which you are entitled, which likely will be your own benefits. And those benefits will be reduced because you began collecting before age 66. If you wait to collect until age 66, you can choose to collect divorced spouse benefits and let your own benefits grow to age 70.

  60. Ken Carney says:

    I’ve heard through friends that disabled people can lose their benefits just by sharing a home with
    someone–even though it is just to split the cost of living and provide both parties with a little extra
    spending money. This was verified to me yesterday when a woman I knew said that she had lost
    almost all her disability benefits for taking in a room-mate to help her cope with the high cost of
    living. This worries me, as I rent a room from from a family member who also receives the same
    kind of social security disability that I do (SSDI) and has a very tough time making ends meet as
    I do. Other than moving out, what can I do to keep my benefits and a safe place to live? Any
    information you could give me will be greatly appreciated.

    • SS Disability Income is not means-tested, so your living situation shouldn’t impact it. But if you are receiving supplemental benefits (SSI) based on your needs,that’s a different story. They consider non-cash food and shelter that is provided by someone else as income (called in-kind income.) If you begin to receive housing or food from someone else for free, they will count a portion of its value as income, which in some cases could reduce your SSI payment or, less commonly, make you completely ineligible for SSI.

  61. My husband recently passed away at age 64. He was collecting social security disability. I am 54 and was his primary caregiver. Am I able to collect on his Social Security. I am not disabled but have not worked for some time due to his illness (cancer). Do I have options

  62. Gene Koppenhaver says:

    I am a widower and plan to remarry. I get conflicting info from Social Security. My fiance has taken early retirement and one worker said if we marry, she can apply on my benefits and get 50%. Another one said that was wrong and she is stuck at 35%. Some sites say there is no length of marriage requirements to collect widows benefits and A social security bulletin says 9 months. When I questioned a worker she said both are wrong it is one year, Very confused

    • If your fiance is getting reduced Social Security benefits because she retired early, those benefits will continue at that rate. After you have been married for one year, she can switch to spousal benefits based on your earnings history, but they will be reduced benefits since she began collecting social security early. If you die within that one year period and were not terminally ill at the time of your marriage, she can begin collecting widows benefits right away.

  63. I am 47 years old I am a widow and unemployed. Would I be eligible for any benefits aside from one time death benefit? Am I eligible with his pension? He died at the age of 66 and is receiving already pension.

  64. Gertrude Cupples says:

    i am an 89 yr old widow and getting ss benefits on my late husbands social sec . I received a letter stating I may get a higher benefit on my social sec. My husband passed in 1978 at the age of 53. I have not remarried. Not sure whether to fill application out using my social. I am afraid my benefit will be lower and they would give me the lower benefit. Also am I entitled to receive my husbands benefit and also mine?

  65. Diana Barefoot says:

    My husband and I were married 32 years before our divorce after some years I remarried it only lasted 21 months divorced again my first husband died Feb 2013 can i get any benefits from my first husbands social security could the 2nd marriage be anulled

  66. Barbara Corbett-Conlin says:

    I am collecting my first husbands s.s. starting after I turned 66. At the time I was married again. My second husband died a year ago. I may want to remarry will I lose my s.s.? Thank You.

  67. Leslie Hemmingway says:

    I was married 14 1/2yrs before me and my ex divorced in May of 2010 this is my question–I’m aware that you have to be 62 to collect ss benifits from the ex spouse, but i was told that because i’m turning 50 on 9-22-2014 and i’m receiving ssi (because of congestive heart failure) i could collect ss from his earnings now, is this true, and if so how do i go about doing so?

  68. I am 66 and started to collect ss at 62 can . I get more on my husband ss . he is only 61 and won’t hurt his retirement and how do I apply for it. I don’t get much cause stay at home mom or it’s more if I wait till he retirement.

  69. Barbara Watts says:

    I am 54 and have been on SS disability since age 52 drawing off of my own work history. We have been married for over 10 years, he is 57 and working. What would the scenario be if my spouse died two years from now?

  70. I started receiving SS, which I took early at age 62, and which is very low because I worked many years in jobs as a sub-contractor and they didn’t take out for SS. I am considering getting married to a man who is on disability. He is 65 and I am 64. If we marry, will I lose my Social Security benefit? If something should happen to him, would I receive benefits based on his social security or mine? We are barely able to make it financially as it is and any less money a month would be a hardship.

  71. Hi I’m 33 yrs old married with a 68yrs old and divorce.We’re been married for 3 yrs. He already received his monthly retirement benefit. My question is if my husband died can I get a spousal benefit from him?

  72. I asked this question yesterday but I don’t see an answer on here so i will ask again. I am currently receiving reduced Social Security benefits because I took early retirement. I am considering getting married and my husband to be is collecting disability. He is 65 and I am 64. If we marry, will I lose my benefits or do we get a combined amount or what? Also if something should happen to him, will I collect on his Social Security or mine? Mine is much lower than his, so if I die first, I’m sure he would keep his own disability but I am not sure if it is economically sound to marry or not. We have been together for 9 years and want to be legally able to make medical, etc. decisions for each other as we age.

    • After you have been married for 1 year, you can collect reduced benefits based on his earnings history if they exceed your own reduced benefits. Until then you will continue to get your own benefits. He will continue to collect his benefits. If he dies, then you will be eligible for widow’s benefits.

  73. I was legally married from April 1, 1993 until December 1, 2003. I filed for a legal separation
    February 20, 2003. My ex tried to put something in the divorce papers that our marriage was over in February. He is a snake and now I know why he tried to play that card but the divorce was not granted until December 1, 2003. Will I be eligible for his SSC under divorced spouse benefits? I knew something was not right when his attorney put that the marriage was over in February in court. I am not sure what the Divorce papers say. Let’s hope that him and his snake self did not succeed at trying for me not to receive divorced spouse benefits. We were legally married in February though.

    Michelle

  74. Denise Edwards says:

    My husband and I were married for 13+ years. We divorced in 2009 and he died in 2013. I had already remarried. I got divorced after turning 60 this year. I am considering remarrying. would I still be eligible for his SS benefit even if I get remarried first? Or should I wait until I apply for surviving divorced spouse benefits?

    • You will be eligible for divorced surviving spouse benefits on your first husband’s history, which you can collect now at age 60 at a severe discount, or wait to get full benefits at age 66. Or you can collect spousal benefits based on your new husband’s history once you are age 62, but those probably won’t exceed the survivor benefits. I don’t think that you have to wait to marry until you are receiving the survivor benefits. Since you are remarrying after age 60, your right to them isn’t abrogated by your marriage.

  75. I was married for 38 years, divorced for a year, I’m 62, my ex husband is 65 and is already claiming social security. Can I claim social security on his work record, now?

  76. I was married for 10 years however when I signed my divorce settlement I agreed to NOT getting my ex’s social security. Due to the fact that I did not fully understand what I was agreeing to and what my rights by law should have been, am I still entitled to my ex’s SS upon retirement? I live in NYS. Thanks for any assistance!

    • You will not get your former spouse’s social security, but by federal law you can receive benefits based on his earnings history. So he will keep all the money that he gets from social security, and you will receive a check from them in your own name.

  77. My question is a bit complicated and I hope you can help. I am 64 years old and will be 65 in March 2015 I was married in 1968 and my husband died in 1974. I received survivors benefits for myself and my two young children. I remarried in December of 1974. (My deceased husband and I were separated for about a year before he died, but never divorced.), and my benefits stopped after I re-married. I continued to receive the benefits for my children until they graduated from high school, one in 1989 and one in 1992. My current husband of almost 40 years is getting ready to retire and I will collect off of his income since I have only worked a very minimal amount. As I was filling out the application on socialsecurity.gov it asks If I was ever married before…and I answered yes…and then it asks if I have ever collected social security benefits and I answered yes. I do not know what the deceased social security number was and don’t know if this will affect my current social security monies for applying on my current husband’s record. I know this is confusing….but that is why I am asking you! Thank you very much.

    • You should fill out the information that they ask for. Since you remarried before age 60, you cannot collect benefits based on your first husband’s record. But if your current husband dies, or if you divorce, you would be eligible to collect the highest benefits available, including those of your first husband. And don’t worry about not having his social security number. I can assure you that the Social Security Administration has that number, since they are the ones who issued it to him in the first place.

  78. I’m 63 years old and my ex husband is 68 years old. I was married for 23 years and divorced 12 years ago. He came back to my country and owe me a lot of money in alimony. My question is, can I get his full social security benefits through a court order?

  79. I was married for 16 years I will be 65 this Sept I am still working full time but really want to retire due to some health issues, My ex husband is alive and remarried his ss check is more than mine will be . am I entitled to the whole amount? By whole amount because he is married he gets 1.5 times as much of his single benefit. Trying to determine how much I will get . I can’t get an appointment with SS until late Nov and need to find a place to live. Don’t really know what I can afford. Found a web site that you calculate what your ex will receive and there is a check box for married. It goes up considerable, would I get that amount?

    • If you retire and begin collecting before age 66, you will receive reduced benefits equal to your own benefits, or 50% of what your former spouse is entitled to based on his earnings record, whichever is greater.

      • Mary Spry says:

        Thank you

        • Mary Spry says:

          No one seems to understand my question … he is intitled to a greater amount if he is married. I take it I don’t get that amount but only the amount that is calculated as if he was not married. So sorry I always have had trouble expressing what I mean. Your wonderful to take time to help Bless you

  80. I need to ask another question, if you do not mind.
    I’ve tried to get this answered but we are not clear on it and I hope I can word it so you will understand what I am trying to ask.

    I understand the maximum current amount someone can make and still work and receive SS benefits is a little over $15,000. If my husband and I (both 64…both will be 65 in March), apply for benefits (I will be applying under his earnings), in Nov. does that mean we will both receive a full SS check for the months of Nov. and Dec.? He will not make over $15,000 in the last two months of the year, or do they go by monthly amounts…$1250? We are trying to figure out if we apply in Nov. and he makes under the maximum amount allowed should we do that. Also in January I understand the maximum amount goes back to zero. He could then work a few months in the year 2015 before making the maximum amount and then retire March 1, 2015. We are not certain if they count the maximum as a whole, or if they base it on a monthly rate divided by 12. I read there is a special rule for the first year of retirement, but have no clue as to what that special rule is. Thank you for your time in reading this question.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I am currently receiving spousal benefits on my husband’s social security. We have been married less than 10 years and are looking at a divorce. Will I lose all of my benefits because of the marriage lasting less than 10 years?

    • Going by the general rules, I’d say yes, you’ll lose your spousal benefits, though you may have benefits on your own account if you worked under the social security system. But check with the Social Security Administration to see if there is a special rule that continues payments if you were collecting them before divorce, even if you haven’t been married the full ten years.

      • I AM 54 YEARS OLD…DISABLED…CAN I GET ANY VA OR RETIREMENT BENEFITS OF MY EX HUSBAND …HE IS DISABLED AND RETIRED ….HE MAKES OVER 5000 A MONTH….I CAN NOT EVEN PAY MY RENT…..WE WERE MARRIED FOR 22 YEARS….HAD FOUR CHILDREN….HE LEFT US FOR ANOTHER….I NEVER REMARRIED…CAN YOU PLEASE CONTACT ME ON MY E-MAIL…..THANK YOU

  82. I thought since I was 62 and retired early that all along my ex’s benefits were calculated into my benefit. Found out during a call to SS that they never were. I had to retire because I lost my job and could not find work. They now say ( I am 65.6 ) I can switch over…and that they can go back 6 month to give me benefits on his earnings. That six months amount will it be his full month entitled benefit or will they just give me the difference from the passed six months? The difference is around an extra $400 a month. Thank you

    • You are entitled to your own benefits, or a divorced spouse benefit which is equal to 50% of his benefits. You indicate that the divorced spouse benefit is greater than your own benefit. Social Security will figure the difference between what you should have been getting and what you were getting, and they will pay you that difference for the past six months. They can’t go back further than that by law.

  83. My husband recently passed away. He was receiving disability social security benefits and we were married for just over one year. I have been collecting reduced social security benefits, (I retired early at 62) on my own earnings. Will I be able to apply for widow’s benefits on his earnings and will they be reduced at the same rate as my own benefits?

    • Yes, you should be able to get widow’s benefits. If you are 66 or older, they will not be reduced. If you are younger than 66, they will be reduced because you are collecting before full retirement age. But the fact that you began your own benefits early has no impact on the widow’s benefit reduction.

  84. i woked for Good Sam Hospital where I was in NEW YORK. I am now 76 years old and I collect S.S. from my late husband earning about 1700 each month. I received a letter from my formar employer saying that I will receive a small pension (572 dollars a month starting in December 2014.
    Will my S.S check will be reduced because of this small pension?
    I would appreciate an anwser please.

    • If your wages at Good Sam were subject to social security taxes, then the pension you receive from them won’t reduce your social security payment. If your wages were not subject to social security taxes, then your benefit may be reduced by 2/3 of the pension you receive.

  85. My husband is 7 years younger than I. I turn 62 in April so if I collect SS on my record at 62, will I still be able to switch to his when he reaches retirement age?

    • Yes, when he reaches retirement age and applies for benefits, at that point you can switch to reduced spousal rates. It will be reduced because you began taking payments when you were younger than full retirement age of 66.

  86. First of all I want to thank you for your answer.
    I have another question:
    i was married to the father of my son for 14 years before we divorced. He is still working and he is a millionaire. I remarried to my late husband and I am collecting his ss because mine was too small.
    Can I still find out if I can try to collect the ss of my son’s father if the amount is larger than my late husband?
    Thank you so much
    Maria

  87. I am 66, never collected ss on myself or from my x. I remarried a year ago and now my husband and I want to get a legal separation for liability reasons. If we do get a ‘legal separation’ can I still receive ss spousal benefits from him?

    • Even with a legal separation, you will still be considered married in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. So you will be eligible for spousal benefits from the Social Security Administration, based on your husband’s earnings history.

  88. leona nelton says:

    I married a man 20 yrs younger than me and I’m turning 65 in January can’t draw anything because of this and also I don’t have enough quarters because I haven’t worked enough. so if I divorce my husband now of 25 yrs can I draw benefit off my ex-husband that I was married too for 20 yrs

  89. Patricia D.Stowell says:

    I was married to my first ex-husband for 13 years and I had my own business. I Started making more money than he was making and he was an anchor man in Seattle. He quit his TV career and started working with me. We ended up in a divorce mainly because he was unfaithful. I remarried and was married to a man for over 20 years, We both made great money and I had my business and he was the Vice President of a Kitchen Cabinet Company he lost his job and would not go back to work for three years. I supported him and we ended up in a divorce. I remarried at the age of 52 and have been married for almost 19 years. . I have been caring for my Grandchildren whose Mom; my daughter had died as the result of a car accident, Then after they were on their own and I was trying to get my business going again, my Dad passed away and for the last 4 years I have been caring for my mother., who passed away in March of this year. My sweet husband, had a stroke 9 days before my Mother passed. So I am caring for him. When I turned 65 I filed for Social security and found out that both of my ex husbands used my income and I only get $300.00 a month. So are you saying because of remarrying I can not get SS from My ex husband? I appreciate knowing this and only found out that I could get from ex-spouses from my daughter..

    • If you are married, then you are eligible to collect benefits based on your current husband’s history, not your former spouse’s history, unless your remarriage was at age 60 or older.

      • Patricia D.Stowell says:

        Hi again Ginita
        My sweet current husband has had two stokes ,a mini Heart attach a triple by pass and needs to go into the hospital once more for a mass in his Colon.. He only gets $600 and I get $300.from Social Security. Because my husband has not been able to work for 8 months we may loose our home. It has been so hard trying to cope with all of this. I am wondering why both of my ex-husband benefited from my income. Was it given to them because they were head of the house hold even though I was making more money than them? I am trying to pay off my Mom;s funeral I am frustrated, because I have been caring for family members for over 8 years now and can not get back to my business. My first ex-husband who retired this year and his wife are both interdependently wealthy and it just does not seem fair , that I was making more money than he in the last few years of our marriage.. Do I need to divorce my current husband and still care for him; then go after the benefit of my ex-husband ? Thanks again for answering my questions.

  90. leona nelton says:

    how long should I be divorce before I can file on my ex husband benifets

  91. Patricia D.Stowell says:

    BECAUSE OF HAVING TO CARE FOR MY HUSBAND, WHY CAN ‘T I APPLY FOR MY EX-HUSBANDS ss WHEN HE TOOK MINE?

    • You will get the highest benefit available. If you are currently married, that will be either your own benefit or a 50% spousal benefit based on your husband’s history. If you are unmarried but were married for 10 years or longer before divorce, you can get your own benefit or a 50% divorced spouse benefit based on your former husband’s history. The same is true of him — he can get his own benefit or a divorced spouse benefit based on your earnings history.

  92. Hi,
    I may be losing my job, and I’m 62. So if I claim benefits now, which isn’t much, can I then file on my ex-husband’s benefits when he turns 62 in April? which I would be only entitled to 50%? Thanks!

    • When your husband reaches retirement age of 62 or older and applies for benefits, you can switch over. The benefits you receive will be reduced since you are beginning to get benefits before full retirement age of 66.

  93. I am 51 years old,and I have been married 2 times and divorce 2 times. I am just now disabled
    and would like to know if I can get my ex ss. My first ex is disabled now too. 2 is still
    working. I was married to both over 10 years.

    • If you have enough social security credits, you may be eligible for disability benefits. When you reach retirement age you will switch to retirement benefits based on your own history or divorced spouse benefits based on one of your ex-spouses’ history.

  94. I have been collecting disability through Social Security since my early 40’s. I am know 61. My husband age 77 passed away in August. Will I still be able to collect my disability of 607.00 plus survivors benefit. His SS check was 2,162 p/month. Can you give me a ball park figure on how much I’ll receive plus will I STILL BE ABLE TO KEEP MY MEDICARE AND MY DISABILITY?

  95. I was married 26 years before divorce. I have not remarried. I was forced to take Social Security at age 62 because I suddenly was unemployed due the the death of my boss. I seem to to get a very low amount of $955 compared to all of my friends who get nearly twice as much.. My ex made 200,00+ a year and is still working. He will be 65 soon. I can not survive on this amount. Is the only way my amount will increase be from his death? Will I get more if he dies? Do they ever not figure the correct amount?

    • You are eligible to get your own benefit or divorced spouse benefits. If you gave social security the information about your former marriage when you applied, you should be getting the highest benefit available. Contact social security to make sure that they know about your prior marriage and are taking that into consideration in their calculations.

  96. My ex wife has received SSDI for about five years. She is now 60. We were married for 24 years. When I retire, 1/2 of my Social Security benefits will be higher than her present SSDI. Can she reapply for the higher benefits?

    • When you and she are both at least 62, she can begin collecting reduced benefits based on your earnings record. If she waits until full retirement age of 66 to collect on your earnings record, she can collect unreduced benefits (50% of what you are entitled to). Her best bet may be collecting the disability payments until then, but she can make the calculations to see.

  97. Eileen Martin says:

    If both me and my spouse are 62 and he choses to start collecting SSI benefits early at 62, can I continue to work and not start taking my own benefit but get the spousal benefit instead. My own benefit at 62 would be more than the 50% of his early amount, and I think I’d only get 72% of that. I am trying to see if I could collect something and postpone drawing mine and let mine build.
    Example: If we say he would get $1000, than I might get 50% $500, and 72% of that $360. But my own benefit at 62 would be $900

    • If you begin getting payments before full retirement age of 66, they must pay you the highest amount to which you are entitled, which would be the $900, not the $360. So you should wait to collect until you retire, or age 66, whichever comes sooner. Also, if you collect earlier than age 66, your benefit will be reduced by 50% of what you earn over about $15,000 — another reason to delay collecting. Once you are age 66, you can collect your spousal benefit and delay collecting your own benefit until age 70. If you do that, your benefit at age 70 will be 32% higher than if you had collected 4 years earlier.

      • But once I’m at age 66, wouldn’t my rate now probably about $1100, be the higher amount and not allow me to get the lesser spousal benefit?

  98. Husband started collecting his SS @ 65. His SS benefit less than mine. I held off until this past Jan. at 68, will soon be 69 to collect SS. My SS benfit more than husband. My husband was self-employed after retirement and continued to pay his own SS. My husband just recently died. Apparently not eligible for any of my husband’s SS only death benefit. Should I have started collecting earlier based on my husband’s earnings and now started to collect my own SS. This whole thing is terribly confusing and no one gives correct advice. Only reason receiving more SS is because I am just now starting to collect-seems like I am the one being punished for putting off receiving benefits because I only now retired. Please reply.

    • Since your benefits are higher than your deceased spouse’s benefits, Social Security will continue paying you based on your earnings record, not his. That is to your benefit, you are not being punished. It would be foolish to collect based on his benefit, since yours gives you more money.

  99. I am 62 almost 63 years old (Dec) not currently collecting SS and my husband is 61 will be 62 in March of 2015. If I take SS benefits now I would only realize approx. $800 whereas if I wait till he retires at age 66 would I then be eligible for 50% of his SS benefits? I live in Mass.

    Thank you so much for answering this question.

    • If you take benefits now, you’ll collect reduced benefits based on your own record. Once your husband applies for benefits, you can switch to spousal benefits based on his record, but they will be reduced because you began taking benefits early. The reduced benefits will be about 80% of what you would get if you waited. So you might want to wait until you reach full retirement age of 66, begin collecting your full benefits, then switch over to spousal benefits once he applies for benefits.

  100. I tried talking to social security and keep getting different answers, maybe its too confusing for them but you might be able to clarify. I was married for the 10 years then divorced. Remarried to different husband for a 3 year period and divorced on that one also. Both the marriages and divorces were before I was 50. I am currently not married and am 60 years old.. My first husband died in 2009 at the age of 64 of cancer. I have no idea if he was on ssi or ssd. But this is the marriage I am trying to figure out what I qualify for. So my question is which am I eligible for? Divorced survivor spouse at my current age of 60 or if he was on ssd would it be survivor disability divorced spouse? And now to top it all off it looks like I may have to go on ssd. Will social security “research” all this and tell me which is the better one? So far they are telling me since I remarried I get nothing but I am pretty sure it says since I divorced again it makes me eligible again. Maybe for the divorced survivor but not the ssd survivor? Thanks in advance.

    • You are eligible for reduced divorced surviving spouse benefits based on 100% of his earnings record. Those benefits are reduced if you start collecting before age 66, which is full retirement age. Social Security will research and pay you the highest benefit for which you are eligible, either on your own record, or on his record, whichever is higher. Disability benefits are paid to the one who is disabled, and so if you are not disabled, you won’t get those, you’ll get the retirement benefits.

  101. I was married for 28 years. 2 months after our divorce i found out i have cancer and now disabled. I cant get SSD on my own but i am receiving SSI . My questio is can i draw SSD off of his SS?

  102. I am 62 and just applied for SS benefits . With the reduction I was told I would get approx. $950 . I was married for 11 years , not remarried and was told the benefit if I were to collect on spousal benefits would be very similar . Here is my problem – I worked for the State of MA for almost 17 years – I left at age 34 and took my retirement in a lump sum. I paid taxes and an early withdrawl penalty but the woman at SS said if I was vested ( just found out I was cuz you only had to be employed 10 Years to be vested) then I would be subject to the Windfall Elimination provision. This seems very unfair as I was not eligible for a pension and needed that money desperately at the time to live on . Now I have to rethink retirement if she is correct . Does this make sense – I was too young to retire but I could have left it in and retired in 20 years but did not so why am I being penalized now with the WEP ? Is there a way I can collect with spousal benefits instead of my own record to avoid this ? I Have paid the max FICA in for 17 years and feel really cheated . Thanks !

    • You can ask them to furnish you with the calculations to be sure it was done correctly. Workers with fewer years of social security and/or lesser pay covered under social security get benefits equal to a greater percentage of their wages than do those who work longer for higher amounts. If the reason you had fewer years and lesser covered pay was because you worked under another system and didn’t pay into social security, that isn’t fair, and that’s why the WEP offset exists, to bring you down to what someone covered under social security for the whole time might get. Even if you collected your benefit from Mass early, it still counts and reduces your social security payout, because you were entitled to it and received it.

      • Thanks for replying . I can see this is going to be a mess . The $950 is what SS calculated based on my retiring at 62 and 10 months ( only for age reduction ) but NOT with the offset . I called the State Retirement Board and they did not seem to have a clue – shockingly . He said I took out $14,000 in 1996 and typically all they do is send SS a letter saying I have no balance and am not eligible for retirement . Apparently IF I took out ONLY my contributions and not the state share , then I would be exempt ( from what I am reading anyway ) but I am guessing that amt included the state portion also .
        Doing the calculator online at SS , it appears that they can only take 1/2 of what my pension would have been . According to the State website , my pension , had I left the money there for 21 years , would only be 325 a month at age 55 . , the first year I would have been eligible to retire . SO , am I interpreting it correctly that SS can only withhold $163 of that from my SS benefit of $950 ? VERY confusing and both the State retirement board and SS worker seemed confused so I am just going by what I am reading .

      • Also , I would just like to say that the logic that it is unfair that I worked fewer years under SS and therefore should be subject to the offset really makes little sense to me . The SS case worker told me that if I had NEVER worked a day in my life that I would be eligible to collect spousal benefits now ( reduced for age ) at about the same amt as on my own redord , $950 .
        BUt because I collected a lousy $14000 , probably most of which were my contributions 28 years ago and I am going to be penalized for life for that ? She said that if I am subject to the WEP that 2/ 3 of my pension would be deducted from widow benefits , etc. I worked a total of 35 years , being home for 10 years to bring up a child . I paid the max FICA contribution for 17 years at my current job and I will get less than people who never paid a dime into the system .

  103. I am 56 married for 18 years to my now 70 year old husband. I was receiving benefits for myself and his child. She is turning 16 next month. I have been informed my benefit will stop and daughter will receive an amount less than the two amounts we were receiving on her check. Can I get wife benefits from my husband while he is alive? My child is disabled and I am in school.

    • Usually a parent’s benefits end when the child turns 16. If the child is disabled, your benefits may continue if your child is mentally or physically disabled. Contact Social Security immediately to find out what proof they need of your child’s disability.

  104. I divorced after 12 years and my ex died at 48. I am unmarried and turning 60 soon and ss told me my widow benefit at 60 would be $2000 month. Am I able to take my ex’s widow benefit at 60 then switch to mine at 70 if my benefit is higher by then or do I have to take mine at 66? I know my benefit will grow 8% each year after 66 and may be higher than $2000 by then.

    • You can let yours grow, but remember that since you began taking benefits before full retirement age, your own benefit will be reduced by about 40%, so it may not exceed the reduced widow’s benefits you’ve been quoted.

  105. I was married the first time in Jan. of 1977. My divorce was final in April of 1987. I was told at the time, could collect on my ex’s social security. When I remarried in 1997, I was still told by the local office I could choose the one who made the most money after I was married for 10 years to the second one. Now I am seeing if I am currently married, that is not true? Did that rule change since 1987? If I get a divorce, then can I get the first husband’s ss? The reason I am asking is my current husband is self employed, age 64 and has cancer, but his earnings were never high, and if he applies now he is going to get much lower amount as I would too. My former husband has always had high earnings. Thanks.

    • If you are currently married and of retirement age, you can collect based on your own record or spousal benefits based on your spouse’s record. The exception is that if you married at age 60 or later, then you can collect based on your former spouse’s history.

  106. I am 61 years old and collecting social security disability. When I am at full retirement age can I collect from my ex husbands social security or should I have done this when I began the disability payment. He is now collecting at age 64.

    • If you and your ex were married for at least ten years, at full retirement age you can collect based on your own earnings history or divorced spouse benefits that are equal to 50% of the benefits based on his earnings history, whichever is greater.

  107. I heard that when I apply for social security I can file under my own benefits or I can apply under my husbands benefits to receive 1/2 of his social security whichever of the two is the greater amount. We are still married and have been for over 40 years and he is currently receiving social security disability and has been for some time now. This sounds like double dipping to me, why would I get 1/2 of his while he is still alive and receiving it? Was my friend mistaken and this only applies to widows?

  108. Disabled Cougar says:

    I am on private disability with a neuro-degenerative genetic disorder and receive that money. My husband and I have been married 20 years. He is a little over 12 years my junior. When I take retirement (the private company will \take away my disability at age 63, which is 9 years in the future for me), can I cash in on my husband’s retirement at that time or do they force me to take retirement based on when I was still trying to work part time before I just could not stand up or work anymore? I feel as if I am being punished for a genetic disability. We have a hard time making it due to my many medical bills for treatments and medications. Thank you for your information. Great site:)

  109. Audrey Antone says:

    I will be 62 on Dec 15th 2014. I was married for 12 years to a man 15 years younger than me. If I start collecting reduced benefits at 62 will I be entitled to 1/2 his ss benefits when he turns 62 even if he doesnt start collecting till 66 I dont plan to remarry ever again.
    Also I have rental incomes Is that considered earnings towards the 15,000 per year maximum ?

  110. I will be 60 years old in two weeks. My first husband that I was married to for 14 years is deceased. My current husband, who collects social security disability, and I have recently separated and he wants a divorce. If we do in fact get a divorce, would I then be able to collect “benefits” from my 1st husband’s social security? Also, through a divorce, if I have understood correctly, Social Security Disability benefits are not available to a divorced spouse. Is that correct?

  111. Hello,
    I was married for 36 years and was divorced. I just now remarried at 61 years of age. My new husband is 64 and doesn’t plan on collecting SS until 66 and then suspending it. My question is this: Can I start collecting on my former husbands SS benefit(at a reduced rate) at 62 and then later collect on my new husbands benefit when he turns 66. (Whichever is greater)
    Also if I can’t collect on my former husbands SS benefit at 62 because I remarried can I collect on my SS benefit (Reduced rate) now and then collect on my new husbands rate at 66?.

    • If you begin collecting now, you will collect the highest benefit available to you. Since your husband hasn’t applied for benefits, you can’t collect on his, so you will collect your own or divorced spouse benefits based on your first husband’s history (which is still available to you since you remarried at age 60 or older). When your husband applies for benefits, or filed and suspends, you can switch over to spousal benefits if those are higher. But whichever benefit you collect, it will be forever reduced because you began collecting before full retirement age 66.

  112. Hi, thank you for your help in advance. I receive spousal support from my ex of 41 years. I am 62. Each month I receive approximately $2,000 in support. My question is will my support be lessened by the amount of my exe’s social security benifit or will the social security be added on top of the support amount?

    • If the amount you receive was set as non-modifiable support, you’ll continue to receive it. If not, your former spouse could ask to have your support reduced since you will now have additional financial resources from which to support yourself.

  113. S.Rellergert says:

    I am 58 years old my ex and I were married almost 25 years. He is remarried I have not.. We have been divorced for more than ten years. What I understand is that when I turn 62, I get a portion of his pension and as long as I wait until I am at least 60 to remarry it will not have an affect on my pension from him. I also have worked full time and will receive my own plus his. He will have no entitlement of mine because he is remarried. Is this correct.

    .

    • The rules you are describing apply only to Social Security benefits, and are accurate except that you don’t get two benefits, you get your own benefit or divorced spouse benefits, whichever is higher, and the benefits you received will be reduced because you begin collecting before full retirement age. To determine the pension benefits you are entitled to, look to your divorce settlement paperwork where the pension was discussed. If it wasn’t discussed, see an attorney immediately to see about how to open up your divorce case again to deal with that omitted asset.

  114. SHEILA DANIELS says:

    I received disability before the age of 62. My husband and I had been divorced well over 10 yrs. Do I have to apply for his social security benefits as his ex-spouse. I don”t want to, because I will be receiving a lesser benefit than what I get from the state for disability. Why do I have to apply for early retirement on his account. Why can’t I wait till age 65?

    • My advice is to wait until 65, even though you might get more now, so that your benefits won’t be reduced forever because you collected earlier. You don’t have to apply for early retirement, so just say no.

  115. SHEILA DANIELS says:

    I didn’t get response to my earlier question. I’m unable to work because of health reasons. I have been married for 30 yrs and now divorced. I have been on disability and now I”m about to be 62 yrs. old, and I am being told I must apply for social security benefits as divorced spouse. This will mean a lower social security benefit for me for the rest of my life ( over $200 month), than if I were to wait until I became 65 yrs. old in 3 yrs. I am being told I must take the benefit or receive nothing. Am I being given the correct information?

    • If you receive benefits at age 62, they are reduced. If you wait until full retirement age at 66, you’ll get your full benefits. If you don’t want your retirement benefits to be reduced, stay on SSDI until full retirement age, discontinue those benefits, and switch over to divorced spouse benefits. The people at Soc Sec are encouraging you to apply for divorced spouse benefits so that you’ll get more now. But while you might get more now if you switched over to divorced spouse benefits now, but as you found out, your payments will be forever reduced, so that might not be your best option in the long run. Here’s a link to an article that explains more about it. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/how-the-disabled-can-maximize/

  116. Hi, Here is one for you to answer. Married almost 40 years. She will be 62 next Oct I will be 61 next Oct. I understand about minimum ages. But here’s the story. She wanted a divorce back in 96 never really told me so. She was very patient. I finally filed in 2009 took a year for the paper work and lawyers. All along she was getting even without me knowing all those years. I made100’s thousands in the 90’s, 2003 I built and moved to VT and didn’t really work after I moved. I was in my own business as a LLC in NJ. She took care of all books and monies and tax returns, Every thing only in her name of course except houses, didn’t know that either. Its called trust after that many years married. ( da dumb me) She stopped paying any fed taxes on me in 1996. In the years before only paid enough to make it look legal to the feds. Have no clue how she did this for all those years . 2010 I filed for disability you know the answer to that one…..Denied. Thats when I found out she stoped paying taxes on me in 96. in 2002 she claimed disability and got it. During the divorce she hid almost everything and got away with it. I got a house in VT my truck and tools no pension, she got 2 houses 2 cars and all banked money, that comes to 80% of assets. How she did all of this and got away with everything. How she do all of this? She was a grade 12 IRS agent and knew people. Had to tell you he story because you might not understand the question. She is collecting $1600 month on early pension and $1600 month disability. When she go for her Her SSI, It is almost 3 times what I would get at 62. I understand all kinds of things happen to SSD and SSI and pension when she is 62 by the government. First, can she refuse a claim against her SSI by me. Second, in her case there is no such thing as retiring being disabled, will her SSI go up when she turns 67 and puts in for “official” retirement benefits? Would my SSI off her go up also? Third, At 62 could I claim against her SSD because I am disabled. Forth A Judge said no on pension, but she has nothing to do with fed rules on fed penson (gave him paperwork proving it) and my lawyer was too stupid not to show it to the judge. (there is nothing in divorce papers about her SSI SSD and pension) Last, Is there a way to file for part of her pension right thru the Government not the courts?

    I should write a book on the complete story this is only 1/10 of it . Thanks Tom

    • If her pension wasn’t covered in your divorce, talk to your attorney about opening up the case to get it divided. As for Social Security disability payments, they are based on the disabled person’s earnings record. At age 66 they convert to regular retirement, but the amount usually remains the same. Once you are both at least age 62 you can apply for retiremenet benefits based on her earnings record if that would exceed the disability benefits you are receiving.

  117. Ginger Battista says:

    I was married for 20 years. My ex is 4 years younger. When I turn 62, can I collect on my own record then switch to his in 4 years when he turns 62?

    • Yes, you can. You’ll get reduced benefits because you will be younger than full retirement age when you begin collecting.

      • Ginger Battista says:

        Thank you for your reply.

        Could I file my social security at 62 and when my ex-husband turns 66, I will be 70, switch to file on his social security?

        Or will social security automatically switch over to his benefits when turns 62 or 66?

  118. I’m 42 years old and I have been working for 12 years full time and have accumulated enough 40 credits. I plan on being a stay at home mom for the next twenty years while working a few hours here and there. My husband works for an university and does not pay social security. Am I qualified for social security benefit in 20 years? Thanks.

  119. Brenda Jo says:

    I’m 51 and was married 15 years, now divorced. My fiance’ is 50 and on SS disability. What will happen if I marry my fiance? Will I lose the ability to collect on my ex-husbands social security? my ex-husband had significantly more earnings than my fiance. Will I get ss from my disabled fiance? I own 4 houses and am currently laid off. I’m trying to find a way to keep the rental houses as a business and not go back to work, but I need a little bit more income (hence getting married vs. going back to a 9-5 job and utilizing the rentals as most of my income). However, I don’t want to lose out on my ex-husbands benefits, he earned at least 60,000 each year since age 20 and my fiance earned about 35,000 a year but only for about 20 years and now is on disability. Would you please help me sort through this mess. Thanks.

    • If you are married at the time you reach retirement age, you will collect benefits based on your own earnings record or spousal benefits based on your spouse’s earnings record, once he reaches retirement age. If you are divorced at the time you reach retirement, age you will collect social security benefits based on your own earnings record or divorced spouse benefits based on the earnings record of any ex-spouse you were married to for 10 years or longer.

  120. Brenda Jo says:

    I forgot to mention, I negotiated for part of my ex-husbands pension through a QDRO. I will be getting half of his pension but pro-rated for the 15 years we were married. I’m assuming it comes if I remarry or not. Thanks so much for your help.

  121. My husband’s spousal support to his first wife is suppose to be decreased when she is eligible for social security benefits, which will be in May……she will be 66, he will be 62. How will my husband know if she starts collecting on his social security? Do they let him know or can he inquire?
    Also, she collects SS Disability, can she continue to collect this and 1/2 his social security?

    • If divorced spouse benefits exceed her disability benefits she can switch over. Otherwise she’ll continue to collect disability benefits. It sounds as though just becoming eligible for social security benefits triggers the decrease in support, whether or not she collects. If she must collect, then she’ll have to be asked whether she is or not.

      • I don’t think I made myself clear, sorry. If the ex wife collects 1/2 his social security, then my husband can take her to court and get the alimony reduced or eliminated. The question is…..how will he know if she started collecting? He will need some kind of verification

        • He’ll need to inquire of her — I don’t know of any other way, unless the divorce documents said that she has to report when she starts. But let’s be clear — she won’t collect half of his social security, she’ll collect benefits based on his earnings record. He’ll still get his full amount.

  122. Anne Lance says:

    I am 63, have an ex-spouse I was married to over 10 years and have also worked myself and never remarried. How can I find out the best scenario for claiming social security benefits if I can only see my own information on the social security website and not my ex husband’s? I do know his social security number.

    • You’ll have to get that information from the Social Security Administration. If you begin collecting under full retirement age of 66, you don’t get a choice as to whether to claim on your record or his — you’ll get whatever provides you the highest benefit.

  123. Mary Jones says:

    I was married to my first husband for only 2 years but during that time we had 2 kids. I’m trying to find out if I’m eligible for divorced spouse benefits. I was married to my 2nd husband for 28 years but we are now divorced. My first husbands benefits are the largest of the 3 of ours. All the info I’ve been able to find says marriage has to last over 10 years but I’ve found nothing to address the issue of having children. I don’t know if this pertained to divorced spouse benefits or surviving spouse benefits. I remember hearing something years ago on the issue but am unable to find anything to address the issue now that I’m getting closer to retirement age. I am 58 and first hubby is 18 months older.

  124. My father is 64 and my mother is 63. Dad collects social security, mom draws off him. They have been married for 45 years. They are talking about separation. Mom was a homemaker and worked very little. So I have a couple of questions:
    1) Will my mom loose her monthly draw off dad if they separate?
    2) If they separate, shouldn’t my dad continue to cover my mom’s healthcare insurance until she can apply for medicare or something.
    3) If they do separate and never divorce, mom will only draw what she’s currently drawing and never be eligible for divorced spouse benefits right? only widow benefits when he passes?
    4) Can they live at separate addresses and her continue to draw from him as well?

    • Social Security Administration doesn’t concern itself with living arrangements, only with whether recipients are married or divorced. So if your parents separate, nothing will change.
      The laws of their state probably require him to continue covering her under his health insurance policy, but they should check with an attorney in their state to find out exactly what the rules are.
      When your father dies, your mom will be eligible for widow benefits and her spousal benefits will cease. If they divorce, her spousal benefits will convert to divorced spouse benefits, and she’ll be eligible for surviving divorced spouse benefits when he dies.

  125. i am 62 yrs old, my husband passed away in April of 2012, I currently make 49,150 a tear. Can I get any of my husbands social security? It just does not seem fair that that he has worked all those years and paid into to SSI and the government gets to keep his money.

    • Once you are no longer working (or at least earning less than $15,000 a year) you can file for widow’s benefits, if they exceed your own. Those benefits will be reduced if you begin collecting before full retirement age of 66.

  126. I’ve been married to my current husband for 16 years and he was married before me. Does that mean I can’t collect SSI from him because of his first wife? He was military and is on SSI and hundred percent disabled.

    • Once he is receiving social security retirement benefits and you are of retirement age, you can collect spousal benefits if they exceed your own benefits.

      • They do but he was married once before. So that doesn’t effect me? Someone told me that because he was married once before that the second wife even though we’ve been married longer, 16 years that I have no rights to claim his SSI?

  127. I was married 17 yrs, I’m divorced and never remarried. My exhusband never remaried. He started collecting soc sec @ 62, $1,700. I retired at 55. I would like to collect soc sec when I turn 62, next Oct. At age 62, my benefits will be $850. If I apply for my exspouses soc sec benifits instead, would I get half of his benifits or the whole $1,700? Or if I take my soc sec at 62, and he passes away after ( he has very poor health) can I change to Divirced Widow benifits and receive his full benifits $1,700?

    • If you begin benefits before full retirement age of 66, you’ll be paid the highest amount for which you qualify, so you don’t choose which to take. It sounds like your own benefits of $850 will be higher than divorced spouse benefits of half of $1700, reduced by almost 30% because you begin collecting at age 62.

      If he dies, you’ll begin collecting surviving divorced spouse benefits which are 100% of his full benefits, less a reduction because you began collecting benefits before full retirement age.

  128. My ex passed away and I am able to apply for his social security, my question is if he has another ex wife who is already getting his social security how does that affect me? Do we have to split it or how does that work? Can someone help me?

  129. I was told by SS that because I remarried (even though for only about 3 mos.) I could not collect on my first divorced husband whom I had been married to for 20 yrs.
    So does remarriage, even if short duration, cancel the right to collect spousal support?

    • If you are single at the time you apply, the fact that you were married to someone else for a short period of time does not affect your ability to collect on your first spouse’s history. If you are married at the time you apply, you may collect only on your own or your current spouse’s history, unless that remarriage took place at age 60 or older.

  130. To clarify the above, I was about 50 when I remarried for a short duration & have been single ever since.

  131. Hi, I would love your help given my unusual international situation.

    After 23 years of marriage, I was divorced at age 50 from Husband #1, whose earnings far exceeded mine, especially since i was out of the labor force for 8 years with small children. At 53, I married husband #2, an Argentinian citizen who is not a US citizen and who has never worked in the US or filed a US tax return (as I filed married, filing separately). We have been married for 10 years, and have lived apart for the last 3 (as he is poor and struggling there in Argentina). I will turn 66 in 2016 and would like to apply in January 2016 for benefits based on Husband #1, given that I still earn just a meager income. I understand that I will need to divorce my Argentine husband to do this, and it seems to make sense given that we do not have the money to even visit each other. If I ever get married again (to husband #2 or someone else), would I lose my benefits as an ex-spouse? Would I have to remain single the rest of my life to claim benefits based on Hubby #1?

  132. socalgal38 says:

    I am 60 on disability ssdi, my ex is 62 yrs old started collecting Social Security, he also has a state disability that he started collecting several yrs ago which I do not get. My question is, do I still have to wait till i am 62 to start collecting on his social security? Is the amount of social security reduced because of his collecting on his state retirement? Between the two he collecting over 2,500 a month. I am getting 778 a month + medicare because of the disability. Would I get half of the 2,500 when i reach 62? I can’t seem to get an accurate answer.

    • You must be 62 to collect social security benefits, unless you are a widow, in which case you can begin at age 60. The benefit you will receive is equal to 50% of his social security benefit, reduced because you are collecting before age 66. Your benefit will not be reduced because of any other benefit he is collecting. You don’t say what his social security benefit is, so I can’t tell if that will be greater than what you are getting now in disability. If not, you will stay with the disability benefit until you are full retirement age. Your share of the state retirement is determined by the terms of your divorce agreement.

  133. Hi,
    If your first husband died, and get remarried again and you get a divorce after 10 years with the second husband, Can I get Survivors Widow Benefits from the first husband?
    Thank you!

  134. I will be eligible for full SS benefits at age 66.4. My husband is 7 years younger – we have been married for 25 years. We understand that if he files for SS at age 62 he will receive a “reduced amount”. At what age will I be eligible to receive 50% of his benefits? Will my 50% of his benefits be calculated on his “reduced amount” or his potential “full amount”?

    • I did not clarify that I will wait until I am 66.4 to file, and that my husband does plan on filing at age 62.

      Thank you.

    • Well, let me do the math — if he retires at age 62, and you are 7 years older than he is, that would make you age 69. Your benefits will be based on his earnings record, without reduction for him collecting benefits early.

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