Are You Losing Your Social Security Benefits?

Ship in Stormy WeatherQuestion I 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?


Here’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. Those benefits are called “derivative benefits,” and they equal one-half of your ex-husband’s benefits. You may apply to the Social Security Administration for derivative benefits on your ex’s earnings record if you are at least 62 years old and aren’t remarried.

Don’t worry if your ex threatens to keep working in order to thwart your ability to claim benefits against his record. These are empty threats. It isn’t necessary for him to retire for you to begin collecting.

Here’s another piece of good news. Unlike other pensions, the derivative Social Security benefits you receive will be based on your ex-spouse’s 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, 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 whichever earnings record gives you the higher benefits.

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

I hope this explanation thoroughly answered your question. Have more questions about the financial fallout of divorce? Browse through our helpful divorce article archive just for women and consider signing up for a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop. These workshops bring in divorce experts to answer your most pressing divorce questions and to help you prepare for this life-changing transition.


  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?

      • If you marry at age 60 or older, you will switch over to your current spouse’s earnings history without the normal one-year waiting period, if he is receiving benefits. When your ex-spouse dies, you can switch to his history if that would be greater.

        • 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?

          • Since you are 60 or older, if you remarry you’ll be able to switch to benefits based on your new spouse’s earnings history without the customary one-year waiting period. If your former spouse dies, you can switch to his benefits, if those are greater than what you are receiving.

          • 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.

          • I’m only 53, divorced after 24 years. I’d like to retain my SS benefits from my first husband for the future. If I commit to a common law marriage, at my age, without a license and don’t change my name and file taxes separately, will I still be eligible?

          • Social security does not recognize common law marriages. Neither do most states.

          • kathy koellisch says:

            im a widow i was married for 48yrs to one man.and i have his last name and now since he is gone i collect his ss and pension.. if i remarry again and change my last name to my new husband last name do i lose my first husband ss and his pension?

          • You should not lose either your pension or your widow’s social security.

          • I would like to ask like her situation(divorced) I have ben collecting for 22 Yrs /He just passed away at age 79 and has a wife who married him when he was on social security ..Will she get soc,Secuirty and will my benefits be effected?

          • At retirement, his widow will receive widow benefits, if those benefits exceed other social security benefits for which she is eligible. That doesn’t affect what you get.

        • 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.

        • JS Fidler says:

          My question is have I been left in the dark..!!!

          I am permanently disabled, I am currently 58 yrs age. and my spouse is 55 yrs age,
          We married in 1992 and separated in 1999. I filed for divorce in 1999 though finding out recently our divorce had never been finalized as of this date in 2015.

          There is also a retirement plan, I started with my spouse when I had my own business and it had been rolled or combined into one account whereby my spouses employer of 15 years has contributed to.

          I received my SSI awards letter in or about 2004 and currently receive $1268.00 less medical deduction, can I claim on my spouse’s income and receive the adjusted highest rate.?
          I moved to another state in 2001. Also our daughter received benefits against my SSI am entitled to collect on my spouses SSI or do I need to wait till retirement to benefit.?

          Also I plan to re-marry she is relocated to the US from Eastern Europe and has never worked in the U.S. Though plans to begin a practice here. How or will this effect my SSI or collecting from my spouse soon to ex spouse…?

          Please advise, Thank You..!

          • When your spouse turns 62 you can contact Social Security and see if spousal retirement benefits would exceed your SSI award. If so, you can switch over to spousal retirement benefits, but I’m guessing that they won’t be greater than what you are receiving now.

        • I am receiving spousal benefits on my ex husbands ss. We had been married over thirty years. I started receiving those benefits when I turned 66 in July 2015. I had remarried in May 2015 and when I signed up for my benefits the ss agent told me I qualified for half of my ex husbands ss (as I wanted to let mine grow to age 70) and wait one year and then reapply because then I could collect on my present husband which would be $25 more a month. I reapplied a month ago and I just received a letter that I should never have received my ex husbands ss and they want reimbursement of $12,000. I originally had asked the agent if getting remarried would negate my receiving my spousal benefit and he said no because I was over 60. Please any advice you could give would be appreciated.

        • Sandy Haner says:

          I’m 61 and was married for 14 year’s and am divorces and my ex husband is deceased. What are my best options since I’m not at full retirement age?

          • You can begin taking reduced surviving divorced spouse payments now, or you can wait and take the full amount at age 66. Anything that you receive will be reduced by 50% of almost everything you earn, so if you are still working, it would be best to wait.

        • Barbara Hobbs says:

          I was married 11 years and then divorced. My ex husband was 10 years older. He remarried two years ago. Then he lost his job at age 65. So this year he decided to retire at age 65 instead of waiting till age 66 (his normal retirement age). We have two teenage minor sons 12 and 15. Since his job loss and his new wife (18 years younger) lost her 14 year oil job too, they moved to a smaller town and now she took a low paid job for the US Army. He couldn’t afford to keep up his $2,600 monthly child support pymts so he retired at age 65. I filed for minor child benefits for the boys but not for me. I am 55. When I reach full retirement age, if he is still alive, can I get a monthly check that is half of what his current SS checks will be? If I decide to remarry after age 60, can I still get a check if he died or am I eligible to get either the higher amt of my current hubby or my earnings?
          I mean would I get a social security check based off the higher of my new hubby’s income or mine and if my ex-hubby died, would I still get a second check that is half his SS check too as he would be my deceased ex-spouse? Do I just get one check or two? What about my sons? My oldest son is ADHD special needs. Can his checks go beyond age 18 or do both sons’ checks stop when they are 18?

          • When you reach retirement age. When you reach retirement age, you can receive the higher of your own benefits or divorced spouse benefits. If you remarry, your divorced spouse benefits will end, and you’ll be eligible for your own benefits or spousal benefits when you and your new spouse retire. If your former spouse dies, and you remarried at 60 or later, you can receive surviving divorced spouse benefits if they are higher than the other benefits for which you qualify. His children are eligible for minor benefits to age 18 when he retires or dies.

    • Just thinking ahead… My ex husband is now deceased but worked for 25 years at his former company, where he was fired due to a drug addiction. We were married for 20 years and our divorced was an unconsent divorced – no one was to receive anything from anyone. I am curious, am I entitled to receive his pension and ss ? thank you in advance

      • Look at your divorce settlement papers to see what they say about the pension. Once you are age 60 or older, you can apply for surviving spouse social security benefits.

        • Hello Gina, I get SCSI and have been get it for a 12 years, my x took early retirement from a good company and he get paid but he went back to another company when can I drew from him do I have to be 60 or older

          • Company retirement is subject to the rules of that company plan, so you’ll have to check with the plan administrator to find out the rules.

          • Claudia manuszak says:

            If I take surviving ex spousal support at 60 and half years of age can i still use a small portion of my defined pension to pay off that considered earned incoming?

          • Pension income is not considered earned income.

          • Claudia manuszak says:

            Can you offer any good investment names in farmington michigan thst I can get any advice from.i go to social security after the first of the year.when I give my notice I am taking my pension as cash payout

          • Married 161/2 yrs divorced for 5yrs. Had
            a very fraudulent divorce that left me destitute. He was ruled at fault. He inherited 3.5 million in 2005. Judge made
            me sign papers so he could get Medicaid.
            They his pension into an annuity so now
            I can’t get spousal benefits. I am broke and on food stamps. What can I do?

          • I’m surprised that he was able to get Medicaid with $3.5 million of inheritance. You mention the pension — if you were awarded part of it in the divorce, you were awarded any support, or your divorce papers say you can get it at a later time, talk to an attorney right away. Otherwise, it sounds as though your divorce was settled several years ago, so there is probably not much you can do at this point. You could talk to an attorney to see for sure if that’s correct.

    • i was married 38 yrs want to remarry will i loose my benifits. my husband deseasd.

      • im 60 yrs old i forgot to put my age

      • If you remarry at age 60 or older you can continue to collect your widow benefits based on your deceased husband.

        • I was married to my husband for 14 years, we divorced and he is deceased now. I remarried at age 60. I would like to know at 62 if I can draw my ss and draw off of his.

          • You may draw reduced surviving divorced spouse benefits as early as age 60, or wait and get full surviving divorced spouse benefits when you are 66. Of course, if your own benefits exceed the surviving divorced spouse benefits, you would want to collect those instead. Social Security Administration will make the computations and pay you the larger of the two.

        • Teresa Vanderbossche says:

          My Husband Passed 4 yrs.ago, I’m collecting Widows S.S… Can I still collect my S.S widows from Him if I get remarried? I am Disabled as well..

          • If you remarry at age 60 or older, which I assume you are, then you can continue to collect widow social security benefits.

          • How are widow SS benefits affected if my 65 year old retired ex-spouse dies and I am receiving widowed SS benefits and then I remarry after age 60? Do those widow SS benefit checks stop when I remarry?

            What if I turn retirement age which is age 67 for me and I have remarried? Then do widow SS benefits stop? Or do I choose whoever has the higher income check–my current spouse, my deceased ex-spouse’s earnings or my lifetime earnings–whichever one of the three is highest. Is there one SS check here or two? I’m confused.

            Also, my early retired 65 year old ex is 10 years older than me. I am 55. We were married 11 years. Our minor age sons get minor child benefits because he retired early at age 65 due to job loss and my child support suddenly stopped. I filed to help the kids with their upkeep and living expenses for this loss of child support. If he died suddenly, would the minor age sons’ check amounts go up because now they would be Surviving Minor Sons just as I would then get Widowed Spousal benefits based on my ex’s earnings? How does this work for the minor sons if their 65 year old dad died suddenly? Do their checks still stop at age 18 no matter whether my ex is deceased or just retired early now?

          • Your widow benefits will not stop if you are at least 60 when you remarry. You will receive the highest benefit that you qualify for, as you list in your query. I don’t believe your children would get higher benefits, but they do get benefits until age 18.

      • Sheri smith says:

        I was married to my husband for fifteen years , then divorced , I have not remarried. I retired from the Chicagoublic Schools were I taught and retired after 20 years. My ex gets 1650 $ monthly . I am supposed to recieve around 700monthly from social security which will be reduced substantially because of my other pension. Can I collect part of his instead? , how much ? And what percentage will my social security be reduced if not? I think they call it a windfall something or another
        Thank you very much. Sheri

        • If you get benefits on your own record, they will be reduced because you had employment that wasn’t under the social security system for which you are receiving a pension. This is called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). If you get benefits on your divorced spouse’s record, those will be reduced because you are receiving a government pension. This is called the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

          • Hi Ginit!
            My exhusbands is two years younger than I. If I start collecting SS benefits at age 62, can I switch to collect his when I turn full age 66 since his will be higher than mine?

          • Social security will pay you the highest benefit to which you are entitled. If you collect your own benefits at 62, once he reaches age 62 they will calculate whether you are then entitled to a greater benefit and will pay that to you.

    • Hello,
      I have a question. I work at a small company where one of the owners passed away a couple of years ago, We have been paying his wife a check since then kind of like a pension (not a qualified plan). Anyway, she collects social security on her own, I believe she is in her early 60’s…but will the money we pay her affect her monthly ss check?

  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.

      • How can I collect from my Ex without his social security number?

      • Julie Artz says:

        when you say “So if you are at full retirement age of 66,you will get fulldivorced spouse benefits, even if your ex is less than full retirement age”….as per the postted comment on February25,2013…does that mean that I would receive the full amount of my ex’s social security benefit or would I receive one half of his amount?

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

    • So “eligible” means …..he must turn 62. Not just that he qualifies I am assuming. He will qualify, but since I am 58 and he is 48, divorced, married 25 years, I cannot get spousal benefits until he is 62. Is that correct?

    • What if I am older than my ex and started collecting when I turned full retirement age. Can I change to his social security when he turns 62?

      • You sure can.

        • if I start collecting now my SS at 62, can I switch over to ex when he turns 62 and I then will be 66, will I still be able to collect 1/2 of his SS if his half figures out to still be more then what I could collect on mine at this time?
          Your answer above only refers to if a spouse waiting until her full retirement age 66 to start collecting on hers then switch to ex when he turns 62 because it’s higher.

          • If you start before full retirement age, you will get the highest benefit to which you are entitled, reduced because you started collecting benefits early. So when your ex turns 62, if you are less than full retirement age they will switch you over automatically, if your divorced spouse benefit is greater than the benefit you are receiving on your own record. If you are already of full retirement age when he turns 62, then you will need to request them to switch you over.

  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

  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


    • The laws of each state differ, but it is likely that you are entitled to part of anything that was acquired during marriage. You need to consult with an attorney to find out your legal rights in your state.

      • Terry Walton says:

        My husband own his house in North Carolina State before we got married. Do I have any right the house is not in my name he has asked me to sign off on one of his pension is this a wise thing to due because he is my 700,000 dollars profit sharing from my job of 30 plus years

        • Terry Walton says:

          If I sign away my husband pension will I be able to collect social security from him after age 62

        • During marriage he has an obligation to provide support for you, but isn’t obliged to put your name on property in most states. No it isn’t wise to sign off on his pension, whatever that means, without careful consideration of the consequences.

          • I currently receiving my social security, currently married but was married to ex spouse for 12 years. In the event that I survive this ex-spouse and his 100% benefit is higher than my social security, can I apply for his in my favor if he has more than mine? And does his current wife be awarded his 100% benefit at the same time I am granted? How does this works?

          • If you are unmarried and your former spouse dies, you will be entitled to collect surviving divorced spouse benefits, which generally are the equivalent of 100% of his benefit. His wife will be able to collect widows benefits, also equal to 100% of his benefit.

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

    • Most states award a spouse a portion of retirement benefits earned during the marriage. Consult an attorney to find out the rules in your state.

    • MARIA Hardiman says:

      I am 45 years old and have been married to my husband for 24 years, we haven’t been together for the last 8 years cause of his drug addiction and now he is 51 years old and has Been on SsDi for about 2 years. HE WORKED for the union for 20 yearss before he became disabled and can start getting his retirement benefits from his retirement pension in March of 2018. Now since we are still legally married and he makes double what I make on SsDi so until I get divorced am I entitled to any of his SsDi benefits. And when I do file fore divorce which will be this week am I still entitled to get half of his retirement pension, cause I am his beneficiary, and am I entitled to get any alimony. He makes $1800/ m onSSDI AND I make $821/ m. .

  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?

        • If you take early benefits, your payments are reduced for the rest of your life (unless you later get widow’s benefits, which aren’t reduced).

          • Lynn may want to take the reduced amount of her ex’s
            benefit at age 62 and then take her own Full benefit at
            age 66+ if it would be more. Is that scenario possible?

          • If Lynn takes benefits at age 62, she will receive the greater of her own benefit (reduced because she started early) and her divorced spouse benefit (similarly reduced). Assuming that her divorced spouse benefit is greater (which it probably isn’t), at age 66 she could switch to her own, but that would be reduced because she began taking payments at age 62.

  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 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.


    • 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.


    • 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:


    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:

    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.


    • 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?

    • 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.

      • Can you interject on this???/If the ex spouse remarried .after the first wife was awarded( Divorce Papers) his Soc Sec. and then dies does the 2nd wife get His Social Security.? Will that reduce the first Wife’s Widows Benefits ???

        • If you were married for 10 years or longer, upon retirement you are entitled to surviving divorced spouse benefits upon your former spouse’s death, if those benefits exceed any other social security retirement benefits for which you qualify. The same rule applies for the widow of your ex-spouse, except that her benefits will be called widow benefits.

  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.

      • I am 51 and just started receiving disability…I worked for 32 years. My ex husband of 19 years is 66. When he passes away will I be entitled to his full so benefit

  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.

    • 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?

    • You can get the highest of his benefit or your own. Fill out the paperwork and they will pay you the highest amount, which will probably be more than you have been getting, from what they sent to you.

      • how much will my Wife receive? I have been married 46 years this Oct. 24. 2016. I am a 100% Total and Permanent Disabled Veteran, What part will she get ? Right now I receive both SS and 100% VA Compinsation. Is she eleigible to collect what part of my income will She able to receive?

        • In most states, the parties have a duty to each other to support. Whether she will receive any support depends on the totality of your two situations and the laws of your state. You’ll need to consult an attorney familiar with the laws of your state to see what would happen in your case.

  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.


  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 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.


  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

  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:


    • 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.

      • Hello, my #1husband age is 70, I was married to him for 15 years, we’re divorced now over 20 years. He’s re-married for over 20 years now. He has retired from driving a city bus transit in California for just a few years now. I heard he had a stroke.

        My #2 husband is age 74, I was married to him for 1 year. We divorced, he never re-married. He worked for social security for 15 years and became disable job related over 17years ago. During that time he worked as a part-time English Professor at various Universities and he was recently ask to run for Governor of his town. I don’t know his social security number and SS said if I don’t no it they can’t help me as to weather I could get more money from him or not.

        My #3 husband is deceased for 15 years now. He was 20 years military, 100% disable Vet. I was married to him for 3years. His former wife of a 50 year marriage died before he and I were married. I was told I could get more from the #1 husband; but what about #2 husband. How would I no without being able to give his SS#. I no he’s alive but he’s still mad at me all these years for leaving his alcoholic/violent behavior so he wouldn’t dare give it to me.

        What do you suggest?

        • Mam, I forgot to mention that i’m 65 waiting until i’m 66 before filling for retirement or spousel. I don’t have much work history and I’ve been disable since I was 50 years old. I get a small portion my late husbands VA indemnity plus a small portion of his SS disability. I’m going to be 66 soon so I have to pick the husband I will get the most SSD. I believe it could be husband #2 but can’t come up with his SS# to confirm. Thanks- what do I do? All of this is new to me.

          Also is it true I could also be getting a check for my Indian heritage on my fathers side from the Oklahoma State, all of my fathers people were from the tribe of Cherokee?

        • If your marriage lasted less than 10 years, you are not eligible to collect divorced spouse benefits on Husband #2.

  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.

      • or?

        If you have a signed consent order that states a specific support amount to continue until
        the wives remarriage or death. That would fall under what you said above as, non-modifiable

  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.

  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… 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.

  135. I’m a federal retiree & my wife passed away. SS says because I was a federal retiree & I am now a widower,, my SS check will be reduced by 2/3 of my federal retirement check, which leaves 0. They say I cannot be payed any longer. They say I (am) qualified for a survivors annuity which is 302 dollars based on my wife’s annuity. That is 156 dollars less than I was drawing on my own earnings. Can I decline the survivors annuity based on my wife’s earnings andj keep drawing my check based on my own earnings. In one of their booklets, it says that if you retired from federal employment before 2004, there is no reduction & I retired in June 30 of 2002. Why am I being punished because my wife passed away? My check was originally reduced by about 60 percent , because I was a federal retiree even though I paid in & earned it, since they consider this double-dipping. Now they are going to penalize me again by taking away my whole check because my wife died.

    • This doesn’t seem right — once you are age 66 you can choose what record to receive benefits from, your own or your spouse’s, so it seems to me that you could decline your wife’s annuity and continue to collect your own reduced benefit. Talk to the Social Security people about that option.

  136. I got married in 2002. I am separated but not divorce. My husband retired August, 2014, and started receiving his SS benefits. Am I entitle to a monthly check also before the age of 62?

  137. Donna Stanton says:

    My friend is 67. Her husband died in 2006. He was a successful businessman and a well known individual, and during the time of their marriage, he was being sued for a large amount of money and my friend was advised to “divorce” him so as not to be targeted also. She did so, but they were still together as man and wife under the same roof, sharing bank accounts until he died. They lived in California and were together for a total of 11 years. Is she entitled to collect on his record? It would be considerably more money than her check. The man died pretty much broke by the way.

    • If they were married for 10 years or longer, she can collect surviving divorced spouse benefits. If they weren’t married that long, she can’t. Social security doesn’t care about whether you lived together or not.

  138. I know I’m eligible for divorced spouse benefits but how do I find out what the actual dollar amount will be? I’m trying to decide if I want to do this at age 62 or wait but I need to know how much the monthly income will be.

  139. My ex wife of 18 years passed away in November of this year. She was collecting 100% ss disability benefits when she passed. She was 53 years old. I am 62 and have been on ss for about 6 months. Her disability benefits are/were about double what mine are currently. How much more am I entitled to receive, if any.

  140. My husband is almost 2 years older and has earned much more than I have. I realize now that if I take my reduced benefits at 62, I will be getting reduced benefits when I switch over to my spousal benefits.

    When can I switch over? When he is 66 or when I am 66?

    Can my husband take his spousal benefit on my earnings before filing for his benefits at 70? Does this only work at my full retirement age?

    Thank you.

    • To avoid getting reduced benefits, you must wait until you are of full retirement age 66. As the law stands now, your husband can begin collecting spousal benefits on your record once he is of full retirement age, letting his own benefits continue to grow until age 70, but only if you have filed for benefits. So if you are waiting to collect benefits until you are full retirement age, he cannot collect spousal benefits until then.

  141. I was married my first husband for 18 years divorced I remarried five years later and have been married for 20 years I am wanting to get a divorce. Can I know collect on my first husband’s social security because mine is only 700 month and his is 1500 a month

    • If you are married, you can collect on your own history or spousal benefits based on your husband’s earnings history, whichever is greater. If you are divorced, you can collect you your own history or divorced spouse benefits based on any former spouse to whom you were married for 10 years or longer. Remember that both spousal and divorced spouse benefits are equal to 50% of what he is eligible to receive, so in your case if you were divorced you could get $750 on your first husband’s earnings record rather than $700 on your own.

      • I know my wife can collect percentages of my full benefit. My question is, when I die and she is collecting say 39.93% of my benefit, opted when she was 63, and when I die, can she now collect what I was receiving, which would be higher than the 39.93% of my full SS benefit?

  142. my wife is 50 years old. She has been on Social Security disability under my account. We are in the verge of a divorce. Her health has significantly improved and I do not believe she still is disabled any longer. Will she lose her benefits if we divorce where does she get to keep them we have been married for 28 years. Will this affect my ability to get disability and will introduce my disability payments if she still receives mine

  143. im 58 receiving ssdi my husband is 61 1/2 if he retires at 62 ..will I be able to collect spousal benefits of his record?at age 58

  144. My sister was divorced in 2003 after 28 years of marriage. Her ex-husband remarried a week after the divorce but he subsequently died 3 months later. My sister is now 62 years old and is trying to collect survivor benefits from her ex/deceased husband. Social Security is telling her that she will not get the benefits because she was not married for 10 years in a row. How can this be

    • If she was married to him for 28 consecutive years, then what they say is ridiculous. She should call again and talk to someone else who understands the facts.

      • I know that the woman who was married to him after my sister’s divorce but only for the 3 months before he died is trying to collect also. Would this make a difference?

  145. I am 62 and my ex-husband is 65. We were married for 20 years and have been divorced for 20 years. He retired a few years ago. I don’t know if he is drawing his social security benefits yet or not. I plan to work until I am 70. We have both paid into social security consistently since we were 20 or younger. I would like to draw on his record when I turn 66 and earn delayed credits and then draw on my record when I am 70. Is this possible? If so, would the benefit I receive on his record be reduced if he started drawing at 62? If my benefit is more, can I still draw on his at 66 and wait to draw on mine at 70 to maximize my benefit? Also, can he start drawing on my record? When could he do this?

    • Your plan is a sound one: at age 66 draw divorced spouse benefits and let your own greater benefits grow until age 70, then switch over. The benefits you receive won’t be reduced by the fact that he began collecting early, as long as you wait until full retirement age 66. If he began drawing at age 62 he is getting his own benefits, spousal benefits on your record, or a combination of the two — it’s not something that you need to be concerned about since it doesn’t affect what you get.

  146. Linda Appleby says:

    I am 64 1/2, will be 65 in May of 2015. I was laid off my job and my unemployment is ending. I still do not have a job. I want to see if I can at least collect half of my ex husband’s ss whom I was married to for 27 yrs. I have not had luck finding a job. Can I get half his for some income right now and not affect mine? Mine is probably more than his half but I do not want to touch mine. Can I request to get 1/2 of his right now?

    Thank you.

    • If you begin collecting before full retirement age 66, they will pay you the greater of the spousal benefits or your own benefits. If you don’t collect until age 66 or later, you can choose which benefit to receive. If you begin getting benefits now on your own record, and then get a job, you can suspend your benefits and let them grow some more.

  147. We married for 9 years and my husband filed divorce last august 2014. Our divorce is not done yet. Do I have a claim for surviving benifits spouses even Im not in tittle. When can I apply for this benifits.

    • You are eligible for surviving spouse benefits if you were married for 10 years and he is deceased. If he is still alive, you would be eligible for divorced spouse benefits if you were married for 10 years and you are both of retirement age 62 or older.

  148. My ex husband died at age 62 one month before age 63. He was drawing SS and possibly disability. We were married 18 years. I am 10 years younger. He did remarry before his death. I have not remarried. My question is – I was told by the SS office that I could draw 75% of his SS at age 60, if I did not remarry, and let my own build up until age 70 and drop his at that time and take mine since mine will be a couple hundred dollars higher. I read one of your anwers where you said the ex-spouse of the deceased is entitled to only 50% if you draw at age 60. The SS office told me the ex could draw 75% at age 60. Which is correct? They also said you can remarry after age 60 with no penalty and continue to draw 75% – but if you marry before age 60 you forfeit the exspousal survivors benefit in its entirety. thank you.

  149. Gayle Schnorenberg says:

    If I start collecting the portion I am entitled to of my ex husband’s social security at age 62 will that affect the amount I would receive on my social security at age 66? Would it be the reduced amount?

    • If you begin collecting benefits before age 66, they will be reduced benefits, and will be paid to you on the highest record available, your own benefits or spousal benefits based on your husband’s history. Those benefits will continue to be reduced forever — turning age 66 doesn’t make a difference if you began collecting early.

  150. Hi, this is the only site I could find to answer a simple question. My wife passed away in 2008, if I remarry and then die will my new wife be able to collect my so sec benefits. We were married Dec 31, 1964.
    Thank you. Art

  151. Catherine says:

    I started collecting SS benefits from my own account at age 62 (I’m now 68). My ex, to whom I was married 22 years delayed his retirement until last year. I have no idea what his benefit would be. Is it possible, if his is greater to change from my benefit to whatever his would be?

    • If Social Security knew that you were married for more than ten years, when you began collecting benefits at age 62 they paid you the highest benefit available to you. So you can check with them, but it is probably still the case that your own benefits gives you a greater payment than divorced spouse benefits on his record.

  152. my husband died last week he was 88 and receiving his full SS benefits, I’m 58 years old and making over $75,000 a year as a teacher. Question: should I apply for survival benefits from him eventhough I’m not 60 yet and could I also get my own SS benefits at 62 if I was to retired early. In other words, can I receive his spousal benefit now and also my own once I reach 62? I was told that I could only receive one and not both. Also, if I start withdrawing my own SS at age 62 and continue working, is that going to affect the amount of benefit I received from my own SS benefit? wha is the best way to go about right now. I thank you in advance for your help

    • If you have a child under 18, you can collect benefits now. Otherwise you’ll have to wait to age 60 to collect reduced benefits or til age 66 to collect full benefits. If you continue working and are under age 66, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn over about $15,000 or so.

  153. My husband passed away two months ago at the age of 82. I’m 64 and already receiving my own SS benefits. I would like to know whether I should wait till I turned 65 which is my full retirement age to receive the survival benefits since I was told it’l be bigger than if I withdraw it now, do I have to decide which I want to keep, either his or mine according to which one is bigger? or can I keep both- one survival benefit and the other my own SS benefit. Please advice. Thank you

    • Usually when you are under age 66 you’ll get the highest benefit to which you are entitled. Full retirement age is 66, and you’ll only get one payment, and it will be reduced because you began collecting earlier. Social Security can advise you on what your payment will be if you begin collecting widow benefits now or wait until age 66.

  154. My husband is 14 years old than I. He is 69 and recently needs 24 hour care. This has hindered my working. At this point his SSN is much higher than I will receive from my own SSN when I turn 66 1/2. When he passes, can I opt for his ssn vs mine? Would his SSN benefits to me be 1/2 of what he currently receives or the full amount? Are there any spouse survival benefits?

  155. I am 64 and divorced and working. My ex husband is collecting social security. Can I collect on his social security until I am 66 and then switch over to my social security benefits since mine will be more?

  156. My husband and I were married for 20 years, we got an uncontested divorced. He was fired from his job of 25 years. He is now deceased. Am I entitled to his pension and his social security? I have not remarried.

    Thank you

  157. If I retire at 62 my social security is 604 my ex husband is 1700 a month then I receive half of his which is $850 that is all I get right the $850. I do not know if his pension is taxed my portion is $400 a month if it was not what would I receive based on that information

    • You would receive social security payments based on your ex-husband’s record, since that payment is greater than your own. If you are also receiving part of his pension, it is likely that is taxable income to you.

  158. So I would receive the 1700?

  159. So it is 1/2 of the income if he dies would I receive 1700

  160. I’m 70 yrs old and collect benefits from my ex husband who is deceased, I’m contemplating getting married at age 71, will I still be able to collect and continue receiving from my divorced / deceased husband. Thank you

  161. I am 65 and I am still working. I have an account with Social Security. It says that I will be getting one check on the 3rd of Feb, for $750 per month. That figure is based on my earnings. THEN it says I will be getting another check on Feb. 11th for $1220 per month. Which would be half of my ex husbands benefit. I think there is something wrong with this. I thought I could only get one or the other? Thanks you.

    • Contact Social Security to see what is going on with your account. If you are still working and earning over $15,000 a month, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn over that amount, and further reduced because you are collecting early, so it may be best to wait until you are of full retirement age to begin collecting, so your benefits won’t be reduced.

  162. I am single and will be 65 in March, 2015. I do not want to collect Social Security benefits until I am 70.

    I have been divorced for 5 yrs, I was married for 20 yrs. My ex husband is 62. How do I find out the $ amount of my ex husband spousal benefit? Can I receive 50 % of my ex husband’s benefits and delay my own social security benefits until I reach 70, even if my social security benefit at 65 is more than my
    ex husbands benefit?
    Thank you!

    • Yes you can collect divorced spouse benefits and delay collecting your own benefits until age 70, letting it grow, but you’ll have to wait until your full retirement age of 66 to do that. If you begin collecting now, they will pay you the greatest benefit which will be your own. Once you are almost to full retirement age, you can apply for benefits and find out what the divorced spouse benefits will be.

  163. Whoa does this work both ways if she works that long? We are still a long way off but she has a government job and a collage degree.

  164. linda howard says:

    I am on ssi disability. I will be 62 in April, will I automatically be put on my ex husbands ( 18 years married ) social security, or do I have to notify social security myself?

  165. I’m 45 and have been laid off from my job for 1 yr. and nearly 4 months now and I’m having difficulty finding a job. Someone told me that if I don’t work for 5 yrs., consecutively, that I would lose everything that I paid into Social Security. I’ve never heard this before. Is this true?

    • Social Security benefits are based on your highest 35 years of contributions. If you don’t have 35 years of earnings, then some zeroes would be factored into the mix, lowering the average earnings. If you have five years of zeroes, it’s five years of zeroes in the mix — it doesn’t mean you get zero. Zero is what the average person knows about how social security is figured, and that’s why it isn’t good to take advice from friends regarding the subject.

  166. I have a question for a friend who is divorced..She is currently collecting half of her ex social security and she also works full time as a teacher. She was told that when she retires she will no longer get his ss benefits even though she will not get any of her own.

    • She would not get her own if she has not worked at least 10 years under social security. Any amount she is entitled to from her former spouse’s earnings history would be offset by 2/3 of her teacher’s pension under the government pension offset provisions (GPO).

  167. I was married 42 years and I won;t get 1/2 my husbands SS cause I took mine at 62 they said if I waited till I was 65 and 10 months I would have, now I get $40 a month they said on mine for the last 10years sooo he gets to keep allllll of his SS not right at all, we go to mediation on Feb 10th I am worried, I do get to keep my house and car that was bought for me from my trust fund and he signed years ago he would not want the house, right now I get $500 a month spousl support till divorce is final, but that is going on my Visa to pay for my attorney.he was supose to pay the VIsa and Discover and Capital one credit cards, he is not doing it,when he left I opened 3 cards just in my name so I am ok there, as long as I keep them up they won;t cancel me,at my age I won;t need another house or car so I won;t need more credit, any comments please going to mediation?? thanks

    • You cannot begin collecting social security benefits on your spouse’s history until he has applied for benefits. If you collect before full retirement age, then you will get the higherst benefit to which you are entitled. Once your divorce has been final for a year, contact Social Security to see if your divorced spouse benefits on his record would exceed the benefits you are receiving. Regardless, you collecting benefits on his record doesn’t reduce what he collects.

  168. I am curious. I worked all my life. Still married to my husband. If God forbids, he shall pass once I retire, will I just get my social security check or will I get mine and some of his too?
    Can anybody help answer this?
    Thank you!

  169. I was married to first husband for 12 years and we divorced. I remarried and now do divorced again after 32 years but second husband is only 56. I’m going to SSA next week to collect on first husband’s Social Security which will be more than mine and second husbands. If I remarry (maybe 2nd husband again) after my age of 65 will I continue to receive ex-spousal SS . Thanks and this site is awesome and most informative than anything I found.

  170. I am 4 years older than my ex husband. I started collecting my SS at age 62 at a reduced amount. He is now 62. I know I will always get a reduced amount but even with that, if I wait to collect from his SS until he is age 66 and I am age 70 will I get more than if I collect from his now that he is 62? He will get the maximum SS benefit allowed if he waits till his full retirement age of 66. We were married 20 years, have been divorced for 12 years and I have not remarried. I just don’t know if I should wait the 4 more years to collect on his SS.
    Thank you in advance for your reply.

  171. We got married at 63 and we were both collecting SS retirement. My wife made more money in her lifetime and has a larger benefit which increased my monthly benefit after we had been married for one year. If we get divorced after we’ve been married say two years will I still be eligible to keep collecting the higher rate?

  172. My sexy husband died and I know I have more than his sss benefits, and he still owes back child support which was ordered by the court when we divorced Am I entitled to a sposal benefit and will be able to collect back child support?

    • If your benefits are greater than the surviving divorced spouse benefits you would receive, then you will receive your own social security benefits. If not, then you can ask to receive surviving divorced spouse benefits instead of your own, if you were married for at least 10 years. If he left any assets, you may be able to collect back child support from those assets, depending on the laws of your state.

  173. What I mean is ex husband sorry the system has its own mind

  174. Regarding the above question we were married for 18 years and got divorced in 1987

  175. I am 67 and retired. My husband is 60. Can I draw on my husbands Social Security even though he is not retired?
    Thank you

  176. I am 63 years old. I was married to my ex for 35 years. If I take my social security benefits at age 64 based on my 30 years of teaching, and his are much more, can I get half of his benefits? Could I take mine until he is full retirement age and then take his? How do I get an estimate of what amount I would get from his benefits. I can only get an estimate of mine on the SSA website. Thank you

    • If you take your benefits before full retirement age, you will be paid the highest benefit to which you are entitled. That would be yours, or your divorced spouse benefit based on his history (assuming he is 62 or older).

      • So how does that work? Would I get the same amount that he gets in social security or would I only get a portion of the amount that he gets? I guess I don’t understand. How do you figure out how much you are eligible for? I am trying to figure out if I will be ok to retire.

        • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

          Divorced spouse benefits are the equivalent of 50% of what he is eligible to receive. It is likely that your benefits exceed that amount, so you would receive your benefits. At the time you apply for benefits, Social Security will make the computation and pay you the highest benefit to which you are entitled.

  177. Rita Howard says:

    Hello, thank you for this service you provide.
    I am divorced and planning on retiring early at 62. My benefits are $1250 per month. My ex turns 62 another year later, and his benefits will be $1850.
    My question is this: Can I draw my my own amount, and then when he turns 62, get mine plus the difference between mine and his ($400) making mine equal $1850; OR
    do I only get mine because it is higher than half of his $925 and my amount would be higher.
    I haven’t been able to get a straight answer on this.

    • If you begin getting benefits before full retirement age, you will get the highest benefit to which you are entitled: your own benefits, or if you were married to your ex for more than 10 years and he is of retirement age, divorced spouse benefits equal to 50% of what he’s entitled to get. Since your benefits are the highest of those two figures, you will collect your own benefits.

  178. The Social Security policy regarding benefits seems archaic in the sense that one person receives half of the spouse’s benefit. My husband and I worked together in our two retail businesses. We are now divorced. He receives approximately $2000 per month and I receive approx. $1000 per month from SS. Usually assets are divided 50/50 at the time of divorce, but not the SS benefits. I believe the total amount of $3000 should be divided equally as well. Of course, I am giving this as an example and believe that it should be applied to all.

  179. Gabriele Lewis says:

    My question is this: I retired at age 62 from a Government job of 8 years were I paid SS and receive a pension now, plus I received my deceased husbands SS and since he was in the Military I receive Survivor Benefits from the Military.
    Income monthly= SS from deceased husband
    = Pension from my Government Job I paid (paid SS the 8 years I worked there)
    = Military Survivor Benefits

    I turned 66 years old in January and will switch over to my SS which amounts to more then from my husbands. What can I expect from the SS office to reduce my benefits or will they stay the same? Can you please help my to figure this our?
    Just approx. SS Husband = 888.00
    Military = 987.00
    Pension = 741.00

    My won SS would be from 888. to 1350. what would they deduct?
    Thank you very much for your help.

    • If you receive a social security benefit based on a spouse’s earnings history, the amount you receive will be reduced by 2/3 of any pension you receive from a job where you didn’t pay into social security, such as a governmental pension, under the GPO (Government Pension Offset) provision.
      If you receive social security benefits from your own earnings record and also receive a governmental pension, the amount of social security benefits you receive will be reduced under the WEP (Windfall Elimination Provision). The formula is complicated and I can’t even begin to do the math.
      Rather than asking me for the answer, ask Social Security, since they are the ones with the records and make the computations.

  180. E. Taylor says:

    I have a question: If I was married for 10 yrs prior to getting divorced ( I do have a Quadro )My Ex is disabled. I am also now disabled, am I able to draw off his SSDA? What are the qualifications. Also If he passes away or when he turns 60 which he is now is he now able to collect retirement benefits? And if so am I able to now draw the spouses portion? Or do I have to be 60?

    • Social security retirement benefits don’t begin until age 62 or older. As for the pension, you’ll have to find out from the plan administrator at what age you can collect. You will not collect spouse’s benefits, since you are not his spouse. You will collect your own benefits that have been earmarked for you with the QDRO.

  181. Jacqueline says:

    I am 62 in poor health, and struggling to make ends meet on a 12.50 per hour job. When I went to Social Security to see how much I would collect if I retired, I was only entitled to 580 per month, while if I took half of ex’s benefits it would be 780 per month. Neither enough to survive on, but maybe one could help if I took it now. My thoughts are, that I will never be able to retire because I made the huge mistake of doing what I thought best by being a stay at home mom for too many years. I can’t correct that. What I am trying to do is survive until I stop breathing knowing that I’ll never be able to retire. SO, my question is: can I collect on my ex’s 780 per month and allow mine to continue to grow until I am 66? Or does collecting on spouse’s hold mine at 580 from now until I die?

    Very Tired.

    • Your benefit will increase as you continue to work. If it ever grows to exceed the amount you can collect based on your ex’s history, you can switch over at that point. Remember that your benefits are reduced by 50% of all the money you earn over $15,720 from now until you are 66. So collecting now may give you very little, and you’d be better off waiting so that you can collect full benefits at age 66 rather than reduced early benefits that are reduced yet again by wages that you earn.

  182. Hi I a,m receiving disability since 2005. I am 58 years old.
    I am divorced 12 yrs after being married over 28 yrs.
    my ex husband just turned 60 and is being forced to retire early due to medical condition. he receives private disability payments from private companies.and a pension.
    I believe my ex is entitled to collect disability regardless of whether or not his private policies are still paying or have stopped.
    If and when my ex husnand receives his disability can I apply to receive the 50 percent benefit or do I have to wait till im 62 or 66 and if he should pass.. which I hate to say this .. is possible and probable due to his health condition then what happens to his ss and can I receive my portion I believe after he dies is 100 percent but may still be 50 percent.. and do I have to wait till age 62 or 66 .. since I receive disability now.. for 10 yrs..?
    thanks I appreciate any help and or advise you can supply.. Barbara 🙂

    • Social Security can tell you whether you are eligible to receive additional disability payments, and at what age. When you are 62, you will be able to collect reduced social security retirement benefits based on your ex’s earnings record, but I don’t know if that reduces the disability payments that you receive on your own behalf. If he dies, you are eligible to collect divorced surviving spouse benefits equal to 100% of your ex’s benefit. You can collect reduced widow benefits at age 60, or wait until age 66 and collect full benefits.

  183. I was married for 10 years, but Social Security told me that I could not receive ex-spousal benefits because I got divorced 2 months shy of my marriage month. I thought as long as you are still married in the 10 month it would still be considered 10 years. Please tell me what is the truth of this matter.

  184. I mean 10th year.

  185. I was married to my ex for 27 years. He is divorced a second time. I have remained single and am now 88 years old. I am 7 years older than my ex and I retired at age 67 and started collecting my retirement (which was poverty level). I have lived in poverty for 20 years.

    Several times I asked the SS office if I was entitled to half of his retirement (at the point he turned 62 (1996). They told me I was not eligible until he dies to receive anything from his. I believe that this is inaccurate. Am I correct?

    I am reading online and I think I should have been eligible for at least half for the past 20 years.

    Is there anything that I can do now or retroactively- ?

  186. I will be 66 in August and would like to start receiving my SS benefits. My ex wife will be 65 in August. We were married for 15 years and have been divorced for 6 months. She makes considerably more money than I do. I know that I can file to receive the amount of SS that she would get. My question is how does the fact that we have only been divorced 6 months effect me and what would be my best option?

  187. I’m not sure I understand the 50%. If I would be entitled to $1800 and she $2400 what would I be able to claim. Also can I apply for my benefits now and then once divorced for 2 years go back and reapply?

    • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

      You would get $1800, because divorced spouse benefits would be only $1,200 (50% of $2,400). You could apply for divorced spouse benefits in 18 months, if that made sense to you. You’d receive $1,200 instead of $1,800 if you took the divorced spouse benefits instead of your own, and you could let yours grow into enhanced benefits at age 70.

  188. Willema L. Hardy says:

    I was married for 23 years and my husband worked and paid Social Security taxes with 40 credits. In 1985, he became disabled and passed away April 1987 at 50 years of age. In 1981, I went to work for the Federal Government and applied for social security benefits and was eligible for Spousal benefits at full retirement age 65 and four months. After 32 years of services with the Federal Government, I retired 1 August, 2014. Now, Social Security is telling me that I am no longer eligible to receive the benefits. I am now 74 years of age and being without my widow’s benefits, will cause an extremely hardship in my life. What can I do?

    • If you paid into the social security system, then you are entitled to social security benefits. You probably won’t get widow’s benefits based on your spouse’s history since you have a governemnt pension. The rule is that 2/3 of your government pension offset your widow’s benefit under social security, which probably brings it down to zero.

  189. Valerie says:

    I started receiving benefits at 62. My husband will be 66 in September and I learned that I could receive an increase in my benefits to amount to 1/2 of his. Is this correct? Or, since I am receiving benefits on my own income, am I just out of luck.

    The increase would amount to around $300.00 more a month to equal one of his.

    Thank you

  190. Stephen McBath says:

    I am 63 and my fiancé is 59 both of us have been previously married for over 20 yrs each. We have been told that if we marry before my fiancé reaches 60 she can no longer claim benefits against her first husband (he has a very good job). We do not want to make a false move here but hate to wait a year as she has no benefits art this time. What is the correct answer? SS has told us it does not matter once and once that it does. Very confused.

    • Right now, she will be eligible to received divorced spouse benefits based on her first husband’s earnings history, once they both reach retirement age. Those benefits are equal to half of what he can receive, and once he dies, they become 100% of what he can received.
      If you and she marry, she will be eligible for spousal benefits when you retire, if she is also of retirement age and those benefits exceed her own, as long as you and she have been married for a year or longer.
      If she waits until age 60 to remarry, when her first husband dies and she is eligible to collect surviving divorced spouse benefits, she can collect her own benefits, spousal benefits based on your earnings history, or surviving divorced spouse benefits based on her first husband’s history. If she marries before age 60, she’ll lose the right to collect those surviving divorced spouse benefits.

  191. Dale McGuire says:

    I was married for 37 years . My late husband passed 6 years ago after a long illness . He was on ss disability . I receive his spousal ss benefit . I met someone a year ago out of the blue ! And we are thinking marriage ! My question is … Will my late husbands benefits end when I remarry ? I am 64 my new love is 57. Or could my ss be now changed to the new husband ? How does that work ? Thank you in advance , for your ,much needed ,answer .

  192. M. Colburn says:

    When I turned 62 two years ago, I applied for SS benefits online, and attempted to collect on my ex-husband’s SS benefit, since we were married for 17 years before divorcing, and there is no mention of SS benefits in the divorce decree. Shortly afterward, the SSA advised me (by letter) that I was “ineligible” to draw on my ex-husband’s SS benefit, due to some action that he had taken, “which could not be disclosed to me because it was his protected, personal information.” I don’t know what he could have done to cut me off from collecting on his benefits. He is 4 years older than I and I believe is currently collecting benefits. He remarried, and his current wife is too young to draw SS benefits. I remarried after my divorce from him, but that marriage only lasted 3.5 years, and I have been unmarried ever since, and was unmarried at the time I attempted to file on his SS benefits. I don’t even know why I can’t access his SS benefits, and SS will not tell me. I can’t afford to hire an attorney to find out the reason, or to appeal whatever he did to prevent me from drawing on his benefits. My benefit is considerably less that what my spouses’ share of his benefit would be. H-E-L-P!

    • Contact Social Security again, and ask them for an explanation of how your benefits are computed, including any divorced spouse benefits. I don’t know of any action that he could take to cut you off from receiving divorced spouse benefits to which you are entitled.

  193. Patricia says:

    I am turning 64 in June this year. I want to retire but I am confused about my ex’s SS benefit. Can I take his half now and collect my full benefit at 77 (and not his?) Thanks

    • If you collect before you are full retirement age, you will receive the greatest benefit to which you are entitled. So if your benefit exceeds your divorced spouse benefit, you will get your own benefit. If you wait to collect until you are full retirement age, you can collect divorced spouse benefits and let yours grow until age 70 at 8% per year.

  194. G. Coward says:

    I am 6 years older than my ex. I am now 64 and will wait until I am 66 to file for my social security benefits. It is my understanding that when he turns 62 I can then receive 50% of his full retirement if it is more than my full retirement. I guess because I filed for my full retirement at 66 I cannot, when he turns 62, do a restricted application? Is there a way that I can make that work so that I can defer my full retirement until I turn 70?

  195. Judy Bitale says:

    I started collecting my ss benefits at 62< realizing that the benefit would be reduced. I had been married for over 10 yrs. . My ex husbands social security is a lot more then mine. My question to you is since I have been taking my ss benefits for 3 yrs now, can I switch over to his and receive the reduced 50%. Also will I be entitled to the reduced 100% upon his death? Social Security told me that once I took my benefits< that I couldn't change over now and collect on his< that I would have to wait upon his death and file . Thank You

    • If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record Social Security will pay that amount first. But if the benefit on his record is a higher amount, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount (reduced for age). When he dies, you’ll be eligible for the surviving divorced spouse benefits as you describe.

  196. G. Coward says:

    I never received an answer to part 2 of my above question.
    When I am 66 my ex will be 60. Do I have to wait until I am 68 and he is 62 before I can do a restricted application on his social security to allow my benefits to grow, or can I do this when I am 66 and he is 60? Thank you so much for your time.

  197. iam 62 now divorced ex husband died @his age 60, I amnot going to draw much on social security but can iI draw his . My husband now is 4 yrs. younger than me. Please help meIm at a lose like to draw something right now. tk. you

  198. my husband died in 1987 at the age of 42. when I take full retirement at age 66 I know I can receive 100% of his, did his benefits freeze at the time of his death or is there a percentage increase over the years? how do I know what amount I will be receiving?

    • Since he had no more earnings after his death, his benefits did not continue to grow. So you’ll get cost of living increases but nothing else. When you apply for benefits, they will let you know what you will receive.

  199. My second marriage ended in divorce married only 5 years but I have been collecting on x husband ss he just passed away I’m 76 years old. Social security said I get widow benefits now but everything I read it’s says I have to be married for 10 years. I got the letter today from ss say this is what I get I just get a feeling something is wrong have not slept in days. I’m a nervous wreck please explain thank you do much for your help

  200. I forgot to say his first wife is still alive. Social security said I’m entitled to the $255 buried fee but I didnt bury him his 2 children did . The children would not let me attend the funeral or wake.

  201. I forgot to say I was collecting on first husband ss husband #2 made more money so ss changed me to colect on #2 now # 2 passed away but was only married to him for 5 years do I get surviour benefits ss says yes but Im not sure if this is true Im now 76 years old everything I read says I had to be married for 10 years. Was married to #1 husband 42 years only 5 years to # 2 husband . I’m so confused can’t get an answer to this please can you help me. Another night no sleep

  202. I just got back from social security the said my social security to husband#2 will be terminated because he died. Social security said I have to sign up to go back to # 1 husband was married 42 years to him. Social security was the one that told years ago when I married # 2 husband would collect t off of him he was making more money. I feel like a yoyo. Spoke to another worker from social security she says I don’t lose anything from #2 husband social security. I feel I’m getting the run around so confused all I do is cry I don’t know what to do I’m 76 years old the social security check is in my checking account already what do I do now I’m not a widow I’m divorced from both husbands so I would be a survior right not widow. Please give me an answer thank you so much!!!!!

    • If you are divorced from Husband #2, then you would not qualify for divorced surviving spouse benefits since you were married less than 10 years. So you will need to revert to collecting your own benefits or divorced spouse benefits based on Husband #1.

  203. Remember only msrried to husband #2 for 5 years!!!

  204. Linda Connell says:

    I am asking a question for a friend. Her ex-husband recently passed away. They were previously married over 20 years. She has contacted the local Social Security office regarding collecting his social security (she starting collecting her Social Security last year at age 62) but was told that she was denied collecting any of his benefits because they were married in another state (Kansas) and then moved several years later to North Carolina. Is this correct? Did not make sense to me??

  205. I am 58 years old, my husband 45 years old. We are in the process of divorce. In what age can I get his SS? Should I waiting for he is 62, at that time I will be over 70. So I can’t get his SS in my sixties, right?
    Any other suggestions?

    • To collect divorced spouse benefits, you much each be of retirement age (at least 62). Since he is younger, you can collect your own benefits and then switch to divorced spouse benefits once he reached retirement age.

      If he dies, you can collect surviving divorced spouse benefits no matter what age he was when he died, as long as you are of retirement age (60 or older).

  206. I was married to my first husband for over 10 years which ended in a divorce. I remarried and after 13 years, my husband passed away. I am 56 and know that I can begin collecting widow’s benefits as early as age 60. How much more would I receive if I wait until age 62? What is the calculation to determine the amount?

    If my first husband made more money in his lifetime than my second husband, would I be entitled to collect on my first husband’s benefits at age 60 or would I have to wait until my first husband turns at least 62 years of age? If this is the case, could I collect widow’s benefits at age 60 and switch to divorced spouse benefits from my first husband when I reach age 62 should the determined amount be greater?
    I am pretty certain that I didn’t make more money than either of them over the course of my working years. If this is the case and I remain unmarried, would I collect a higher benefit amount by waiting until age 66 or longer to begin collecting social security?

    If I should remarry after age 60 or 62, would there be any advantage to suspending or stopping social security until age 66 or 70 (is this even an option?), to begin collecting SS benefits? I’d have to be married at least 10 years to a 3rd husband to collect on his social security record, correct? If this is the case, could I switch and collect on my 3rd husband’s social security after 10 years or marriage should it turn out to be a greater amount than I am collecting at that time? Thank you.

    • If you collect before full retirement age, the monthly reduction is .4%. If your deceased spouse made more than you did, it is likely that his earnings record would yield a higher benefit than yours. Social Security will figure it out when you apply for benefits.

      It is doubtful that divorced spouse benefits on your first husband or spousal benefits on your proposed third husband would be greater than your own benefits or widow benefits, since both are just 50% of what the worker is entitled to collect. If you do begin collecting early because you need the money, you can suspend your benefits at any time you no longer need the money.

      • Hi GInita,

        To have a clear understanding about the ex wife who may be entitled to collect former’s spouse ss benefits. You said earlier that the former wife who wish to collect ss benefits must turn 62 and NOT be remarried. So if the former wife re-married, she is not entitled to collect ss benefitis. Is that correct?

        • If you remarry, you are eligible to collect based on your current spouse’s earnings history and not based on your former spouse’s earnings history. You can always collect your own benefits, whether you are married or not.

  207. This is in regards to a friend of mine, he doesn’t want his name published!
    He told me he filled out his own paper work for his devorce from his first wife.
    He sent the papers to her, it was sent back to him and he went to court to get it finalized.
    The paper was signed off and made final, he happened to be looking through his papers one day to find that his wife never signed the devorce papers!! In the meantime he had remarried, I told him it isn’t legal, he is still married to his X but his X had died and it was after he remarried he says he is legal.
    Question: Is he legally married to his second wife and can he collect from her Soc. Sec.?

  208. Hello,

    I generally understand the pension offset process for CSRS beneficiaries but I’m having trouble understanding the reverse scenario. For example, if an ex-wife meets the eligibility requirements to receive her husband’s social security benefits, is she out of luck if he was a federal CSRS employee his entire career? I have a situation where the divorce decree (30 years ago) granted the husband his full CSRS retirement and left nothing to wife. Is it correct to assume that because of the husband’s CSRS participation, the ex-wife will not be entitled to her portion of his social security benefit? Thanks for your help!

    • Are you saying that he was under the federal retirement system and not covered under the social security system during his working years? If that is the case, his soscial security benefit is zero, and her portion of zero is zero.

  209. I am 67 years old and receiving 1/2 of my first husband’s Social Security earnings( he is also 67). I have been divorced form my second husband for 6 years and was married to him for 24 years. He is 60 years old , still working and has not remarried. I heard there was a new law that says that I can now claim half of my 2nd husbands SS earnings before he turns 62. Do you know anything about the validity of this new law?

    • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

      There is no new law. Your former spouse would have to be of retirement age for you to collect. And you won’t get benefits from both former spouses — this is an either/or situation.

  210. If I am collecting my own social security benefits may I switch them to a percentage of my ex-spouse’s?

  211. I live in Iowa my deal is this I was married 27yrs divorced 2002 Been divorced 12 yrs now my x is going to retire at age 62 he is remarried, I have been on disability since 2007 and worked for school system and am collecting my pension each month along with SSDI, when I applied they pay me under my benefits I earned however when he reaches 62 am I entitled to any of his social security I am still single never remarried His income went up considerably since our divorce any answers?

    • Any social security benefits you would receive as a divorced spouse would be offset by 2/3 of your school pension, so there may be nothing there to collect. But you can check with Social Security to find out for sure.

  212. Irene Markos says:

    I just turned 68 and my benefit is higher at $1700 than my ex-spouse’s half benefit which is about $750. I heard I can file and suspend my own current benefit until I am 70 and file for his (half) benefit right now and collect until I am 70, at which time I will file for my own full benefit which will be close to $2000. Am I taking the right course of action or can I hurt myself by trying to take advantage of his half benefit now?

    • There is no need to file, since you are already collecting. You could switch over to his benefit for the next two years, and you’d get an enhanced benefit at age 70 that is 8% per year higher, which is around 16%. Whether that’s the right thing to do depends on whether you can afford to reduce your benefit for the next two years, and whether you are going to live for a long time, so that you’ll make up the difference with your enhanced benefit.

  213. Irene Markos says:

    I apologize in advance because I’m a little confused. I am not collecting at this point. I want to know if it makes sense to start collecting now of his benefit and if I can collect my full benefit in two years, at 70, which is higher, if I file to collect his benefit now.I heard that I can collect his benefit now and enhance my benefit to what I can collect as my full benefit when I turn 70, which is much higher. In a way, I’m asking if I can collect my ex-husbands shabby benefit for two years until I turn 70, then switch to my benefit which I can collect which is much higher to maximize everything and anything I am entitled to with social security benefits as a divorcee.

    • Yes, file for benefits right away, since you’ve already lost out on two years of collecting on your (spouse/divorce spouse — I can’t tell from your post) benefits. Then switch to your own when you are 70.

  214. I was married for 27 years, the divorce was final 3 years later, total of 1 month short of a 30 year marriage, Divorced in 2010 My lawyer, now retired, told me in 2013 that my ex was requested to retire at his work. On January 16, 2014 I contacted Arvin Meritor his retirement with his job that has changed their name from Roll Coater. Arvin gave me a run around that there is a lot of money, I called them 3 months and 8 days before my exes 55th birthday. Arvin said I would get a package to look at and it will take 3-6 months to prepare. I waited 8 months then called them now they say it is only a small amount. A lady said I would get back pay to April, 1000 ea. month & after, but they want to keep my money in there business. Now Arvin is offering a one time buy out and I feel they may be trying a slick move to keep my money as other PEOPLE, even my children indicate(d) to me I have. Arvin would not put my money off of my exes number till the 8th month when I called because the papers never came and still did not except for one sheet. Could this go into s.s. or do you think they put it into a share of the company of which I did not get any info on of them doing that. I realize you only deal with s.s info but I hoped you or someone knows of this. I feel if I cash out on a small amount they will keep the large amount for them. I feel my ex is trying to get it where I can’t collect his s.s.. Sincerely, Elizabeth Brownlee

    • These funds are set aside for the benefit of the pensioners, which includes you, and not for the benefit of the employer or the administrators, so they have no reason to make the “slick moves” that you ascribe to them. Ask the employer to give you an accounting of the funds that were in the account and the portion that is allocated to you. And look at your divorce paperwork to see whether the plan value is listed or documentation was received at the time of the divorce. If necessary, you can get an actuary to review the documentation to see if the funds they are offering you to cash out are reasonable in light of the information on the form.

  215. I took early social security to help my husband. I only get $700. He is older and gets $1800. If we divorce do I get both mine and his?

  216. Ellen McMackin says:

    I am 661/2 years old and receive one-half of my ex-husband’s social security (he is alive). I have been told by Social Security is that if I remarry I can no longer receive that benefit and that I will have to wait one year before I can receive one-half of my new husband’s (who is 70) benefit. One of your remarks in 2014 was that there would be no waiting period since I was already receiving a benefit. Help! I am very confused! Many thanks for your reply.

    • I’m so glad you asked. For some reason the Social Security representatives are not trained on this even though it is right there in their Program Operations Manual System. Here’s the link you can give them to the appropriate section in their own manual:

      It says that you must have been entitled to husband’s or wife’s (including deemed or divorced spouse’s), widow(er)’s (including deemed widow(er)’s or surviving divorced spouse’s),in the month before the month of marriage to the new husband to begin getting payments right away. That’s why you don’t have to wait a year to collect.

  217. I married in 1972, divorced in 1983, remarried in 1989, divorced in 2004. I am turning 62 in a few months. 1st ex is 65 and collecting SS. Second ex is 57. 2nd ex made substantially more money than 1st ex or me. What is my most profitable strategy?

    Thanks so much.

    • If you begin collecting social security at age 62, you can collect reduced benefits based on your own earnings or divorced spouse benefits based on the earnings of the former spouse who is of retirement age, and then switch to divorced spouse benefits on the other former spouse when he becomes of retirement age. If you wait to collect until you are 66, your benefits will not be reduced.

  218. Hello. I am 64 years old. My ex-husband retired when he was 62. When I retire at age 66 will I receive half of the amount that he received at age 62 or half the amount he would have received at age 66?

    • You are entitled to benefits based on your own record or divorced spouse benefits based on his record. The amount you received will not be reduced because you will be of full retirement age. The fact that his benefits are reduced because he began collecting early doesn’t affect you — your benefit is based on his earnings record.

  219. Jennifer says:

    I am a 46 year old widow with 2 small children, i currently collect survival benifits for my children and myself. My question is do I lose my benifits if I enter into a common law marriage?

  220. Michelle says:

    I was Married to my ex for 20 years got divorced in 2005. I became disabled and receive ssd and on medicare part a and b. My question is since I became disabled in 2005 and receive a disability check from what I read after age 50 I can remarry and I would still be able to receive my ex husband’s retirement at either 62 or at full retirement or if he becomes deceased on before or after his retirement. Just confused by what I read. I’m in texas thankyou

  221. I have a question regarding social security benefits. After only 5 years of marriage my husband and I divorced. Within 3 months we got back together. We’ve now been together almost 34 years but we never bothered to re-marry. I’m 50 he’s 58 so neither of us are receiving SS benefits, but when the time comes will I be allowed to draw based on his income? (We live in Oklahoma, if that makes a difference)

    Thank you.

    • Social security does recognize common law marriages if they are recognized by the state. Oklahoma courts rely on a well-established test which includes the following elements:

      1. both parties to the alleged common-law marriage must have the legal capacity to enter into the marriage (they must be of sufficient age and not married to anyone else)
      2. there must be an actual and mutual agreement between the parties to enter into a permanent and exclusive marriage (this must be a current agreement; being engaged or agreeing to get married at some point in the future doesn’t count.)
      3. there must be cohabitation as man and wife or consummation of the marriage, and
      the parties must hold themselves out to the community as husband and wife.
      4. The person seeking to show a common-law marriage must prove all of these elements by clear and convincing evidence. If clear and convincing evidence is missing as to any part of the above-referenced test, the claim of a common-law marriage will fail.

      The general conduct of both parties during their relationship will provide most of the evidence necessary to establish a common-law marriage. Relevant evidence may include:

      1. the fact that the couple has lived together for a period of time (cohabitation)
      2. joint income tax returns
      3. joint financial accounts or credit cards
      4. jointly-held assets or debts (a home, car, mortgage, or other loans)
      5. life insurance policies and retirement or pension plans that list the common-law spouse as a beneficiary
      6. using the other common-law spouse’s last name
      7. medical records which list the common-law spouse as next of kin
      8. testimony from third parties regarding how the couple introduced each other in the community and at social gatherings
      9. cards, presents or other evidence of celebrations marking the anniversary of the common-law marriage
      10. notes or other writings that include language such as “husband” or “wife,” and
      11. family photos showing the couple wearing wedding banks.

      I hope that helps.

      • You have been very helpful, thank you.

        On #2, the actual and mutual agreement, does this need to be in writing?

        We file joint taxes, are each others beneficiaries, joint checking and savibgs account, have 3 kids and 4 grandkids together. Since we were legally married I’ve always hyphented my maiden name with his last name. He is an OTR truck driver, I also have a CDL and for part of the year I drive a truck with him.

        Most of our families are not even aware that we got divorced, so witnesses stating we portray ourselves as married is not a problem.

        BUT…the house and car is financed in his name only (his credit was better) we do have 1 vehicle and a camper in both our names. And I am an authorized user on several credit cards.

        So I should be ok with SS admin.

        Thank you again.

  222. Hello I wanted to ask a question my husband lived with his ex wife for over 12 yrs but was married for 3 years and divorced in 2003 can the ex wife get ss if the whole 15 years they where together but only married for 3 yrs can she still apply for his ss benifits

  223. I am dating a man who’s wife passed away last year. We have been talking about getting married, but someone told us if he remarries and he passes away, that I won’t receive his pension. They said if he remarries after he has retired that his 2nd wife is not entitled to his pension benefits. Can you tell me if this is true.

  224. Rebecca White says:

    Hi. I am confused over the marriage issue in this respect. I was married to my first husband for over ten years, and re-married at age 62. I am now 66. Am I entitled to half of his social security (he is 67) even though I re- married? Some of your answers seem to suggest this, but on the SSA site my understanding is that only survivor benefits would apply if he (my ex) pre- deceases me. Thanks.

    • Since your remarriage took place after you turned 60, when he dies you are eligible to collect survivor benefits, if they exceed your own benefits and spousal benefits.

      • Rebecca White says:

        Thanks, but I am still confused. Spousal benefits on my ex husband (even though it is only 50% of his benefit) is more than what my own benefit would be, and my current husband is only 58. So all I want to know is if I can take spousal benefits on my ex, and change later to spousal benfits on my current husbands record or survivor benefits on my ex husband if he pre deceases me. Sorry for not being clearer. You state in several posts that one can receive spousal benefits from an ex spouse if re- marrying after age 60, but the way I read it on the SSA website is that the re-marraige after 60 rule only applies to survivor benefits and not spousal. Thank you.

        • Since you are married, you are entitled to spousal benefits based on your current spouse’s history. Since you married after age 60, you are entitled to collect surviving divorced spouse benefits on your former husband when he dies.

  225. I have been married for 35 years, but separated two years ago, and have been living from one place to another with friends because I cannot afford an attorney or a place of my own without touching our joint funds. My husband does not want a divorce and has threatened to cut me off from all support if I file. I am drawing social security and limited but growing income from my bookings as an entertainer (jazz singer) I am 65 years young. He is 65 but not drawing his social security and is still working. Can I file to draw anything from his higher social security benefits without decreasing what he will get when he eventually files? I am simply trying to support myself without his help.

  226. Please let me know what are the requirements to be entitle ss benefits on the former husband ss benefitis. I understood that the ex-wife must be the age of 62 and not re-married. Is this correct?

  227. I collect disability(I’m 63). My x husband age 67(I was married to for over 10 yrs) is collecting disability from the veterans and the government. He only has a month or so to live due to cancer. Can I collect on anything at this time? or in the future after he’s deceased.

    • You could collect divorced spouse benefits, which are equal to 50% of what he is entitled to receive, if that amount exceeds what you are currently receiving. Upon his death, you can collect surviving divorced spouse benefits, which are 100% of what he is entitled to receive in retirement benefits from social security.

  228. I am 60 and receiving disability SSI. I am divorced but was married for more then 10yrs. He is 66 and remarried. Do I have to wait until I am 62 to see about receiving from his benefits? How will I be able to find out the amount that I will receive from his benefits? Am I able to combine my disability and his benefits? Does my disability SSI get automatically changed over to regular SS retirement when I turn 66 and does the amount I am receiving change?
    Thanks so much for this site, its a wealth of info and a real blessing!

    • At age 62 you can get reduced social security benefits, but it is likely that your disability is greater than social security you would receive as a divorced spouse, but the social security people can tell you for sure. At full retirement age your disability will end and your social security retirement will begin. The amounts should be roughly the same, but you can ask social security to be sure.

  229. I was married to my ex-husband for 26 years, however, I re-married seven years ago. So I kind of know that I will not be able to collect my ex-husband’s Social Security. I am 57 years old, and my husband retired from the Post Office at 60, he received a supplemental along with his pension. It wasn’t until he turned 62, that he received partial Social Security. So, will I be eligible to collect off of his Social Security, rather than my own, when I reach 62 years old? He has made a lot more than I have throughout the years.
    Also, his ex-wife is not remarried and she is almost 63, still working full-time, so we are assuming she will want to collect off of his Social Security whenever she retires.
    Just to add insult to injury, I live in Maine and have worked as an Special Ed. Educational Technician for 18 years, which means…..I have had Maine State Retirement taken out, and no Social Security. So will I still be able to collect something in the way of Social Security from my husband’s when the time comes, or is that another whole different issue? I TRULY would appreciate some answers, as our Social Security Office is a nightmare. What about Medicare?? I feel like I am in trouble, or will be! Thank you! Mary

    • When you reach retirement age, you can collect benefits based on your own earnings history or his, whichever gives you the greatest benefit. Your benefit will be reduced if you are less than full retirement age when you begin collecting social security, and will be offset by $1 for every $2 you earn over $16,000 or so if you are less than full retirement age.

      Since you have been participating in an alternate system, 2/3 of what you collect through Maine retirement will offset the benefits you could collect based on his earnings record.

      If you haven’t worked much under the social security system, you can get Medicare but will pay a higher premium than those who have been paying into the system all along.

  230. brenda frey says:

    I filed for ss at age 62. I’m now 64. I was recently told that I could draw off of my exes earnings. Even though I’m collecting off of mine can I change to his?

    • Social security will pay you the biggest benefit available, so perhaps you mean that they notified you that your ex-spouse’s benefit is larger than what you are getting and so they are going to switch you to your ex-spouse’s benefit. If not, ask them to determine which is bigger — they may not have information about your prior marriage.

  231. Roxanne Collins says:

    Good Evening,

    I am the surviving spouse of a soldier. My husband had an ex-spouse that he married and divorced twice. I believe each time length could have totaled maybe 10 years together, but not 10 consecutive years. Would the ex spouse still be able to collect my husband’s social security at the age of her retirement. They were not married 10 years before the last divorce before? The next question I have is… The ex-spouse called the social security office and had my benefits discontinued leaving me a debt with them because our son was his stepchild. My casualty assistance officer made sure that every thing as far as SS benefits were legit according to law. Well the ex spouse called the SSA and informed them that my son wasn’t the natural born son of my husband and my SS benefits were discontinued leaving me with this massive debt to the government. I’ve always wondered how did she have the power to do so and why did the SSA act upon a claim that wasn’t the law. Well after years of research I found out that the benefits were legit and our SS should have never been discontinued. By law SSA have the right to collect a debt, but do I have the right to restitution. I have sent claims and I got a response saying that they were going to look into the matter. I never heard from the SSA again. It’s been 10 years and I still fill that the spouse and the SSA caused such an burden upon my welfare after the lose of my spouse and I’m not settled in my spirit with the entire situation. Is there anyway that I can get restoration pay for their mistake and enacting this burden upon me falsely? Help, I want to move on and I also want what I was entitled to by law. Do I need a lawyer to recover my funds. I lost my home and business behind this unfair treatment….

    • You are asking questions that I cannot answer, since I don’t know the details regarding social security benefits for children, or the redress rights you have against social security. It’s too bad that you didn’t stay on them about “looking into the matter.” Having waited 10 years, you’ll probably need to initiate your request again. Having an attorney do it would ensure they take you seriously, but would be costly, so you might want to try it on your own first.

      Whether his ex spouse can collect benefits doesn’t have an impact on this issue, I wouldn’t think. But just so you know, the marriage times are not aggregated unless the divorce and remarriage occurred in the same year.

  232. My question is if i started to collect retirement benefits at the age of 62 and now i’m 73. My husband is deceased and he would of been 60. My question is can i collect widows benenfits atthe same time as retirement benefits?

  233. My husband is 60 and retired. He receives a city pension. I’m 15 years younger. Will my Social Security benefit based on my work be affected if he passes and I receive his city pension?

  234. I married in Calif. 1976 Then filed for divorce 1992 in another country after being married 14 yrs . I lost all my documents and have no case #. I now returned to Calif. Because I want a copy of my divorce but Superior Court. Record Ctr. Told me they can not fine any divorce judgement . Record dept. checked 1991 thru 1997 could it be that the divorce papers were not filed correctly and there for we are not divorced?
    We both remarried 14 yrs ago. Does it mean we are not legally remarried? My divorced was because of physical violence and he never gave me alimony nor child support for my 3 children, then 3 yr, 8yr and 12 yr old. Left me with medical health problems because of his domestic violence. He now owns a home, has a 401k ( that was when we were together) he spend all our savings on women and friend. Is this a blessing I disguise for me to get half of his assets. He left me with a disabilty but according to S.S. It is not considered disability but this has ruin my chance of ever getting a job that I worked before. I have never again been able to get a permanent job. I have not worked very much. I have no money for an attorney and now I separated from my second marriage who,lives in another country who has never worked in the USA.

    • If you were divorced in another country, the California Superior Court wouldn’t have a record of granting you that divorce, since you didn’t file for divorce there, you filed in another country. So to get a copy of your divorce documents, you would have to apply to the court where you were divorced, not where you were married.

  235. Thank you for your time. I have another question. When I filed for divorce in another country. My attorney said she sent the divorce documents to be filed in California. Shouldn’t they be found in the Archives record center? Another question. Can I collect under my ex SS? I am separated but not divorce I am 61 yrs and my ex 63 yrs also remarried.

  236. Joyce Bastion says:

    Hi Ginita, I am grateful for the different articles you have written on various sites. I have a question/issue.
    I am divorced after 20 years of marriage, and worked for 15 years as a teacher in a district that didn’t pay into SSA. I did move to a new location from 2007-2013 where I did pay into SS as a teacher/state employee, and I only have around 10-11 years of total SS pay, which normally means the GPO offset would reduce my SS survivor benefits when I claim them someday.

    I read this exemption on the SSA website and wondered if it really does apply toward me since my last 6+ years of working for the state, I paid into SS.

    Exemption: “you paid Social Security taxes on your earnings during the last 60 months of government service. ”

    Thanks for your time.

  237. I am a 61 yr old widow, my husband was five years younger. Do I wait until I am 62 and file for my SS. And wait until full retirement age to file for his, since his would be the larger? I am not sure as a widow what to do. I am also a caregiver to my 40 yr old son from an auto accident, with no help from the State to stay homecand care for him. He is completely disabled. But Inthink I got off track here,, what am Insupposed to be doing SS wise now thst Inam a widow at 61 ?
    Thank you in advance.

    • If you begin collecting before age 66, your benefit will be reduced, whether it is widows benefits or your own benefits. But you should begin collecting now if you need the money. So if you decide to begin collecting now, you should collect whatever benefit will give you the highest amount, and it sounds as though that’s the widows benefit. Talk to Social Security about whether you being a caregiver for your disabled child means your benefit won’t be reduced for early commencement.

  238. Hi, Ginita – I made the mistake of posting on Jeanne-October 31, 2014. There you will find two of my post to you for October 8, 2015. I’m new to all this including computers. I finally started getting the hand of it at 64 i’m now 65. Thank you for helping so many wives and widowers etc. It should also help a few good men to no how to plan in advance for their wives future.

  239. Olivia (Ollie Eades says:

    I retirement at the age of 62, My husband and I has been separated for 43 years I don’t understand why you would give him 500.00 of my Social security check. I live in N.Y and he lives in Ala.

    • I’m not sure what you mean. If your spouse collects spousal benefits, it doesn’t reduce what you get, so I’m not giving him $500 from your social security check. Matter of fact, I don’t have any control over your check, you do.

  240. I am 59 and was married for 16 years my husband is 61. Currently divorced…I am getting married next year (will be 60). If my first husband dies, can I collect social security widowers benfits from him? Or does my second husband have to also die to collect benefits. Do I loose the option to get widows benefits if I get married before my first husband dies? Thank y ou

    • Be sure to wait until you are 60 to marry again. If you marry at age 60 or older, you’ll still be eligible to collect surviving divorced spouse benefits based on your prior spouse’s earnings history under Social Security.

      • Sunshine says:

        I was married for 20 years and divorced. I’m 58. I’m thinking of marrying again. My ex is still alive. If I wait to marry at 60 could I get SS from my ex? He has a larger income.

  241. I’m 57 and have been drawing disability since 2004. My husband and I were married for 21 years when he passed away at age 72 on August 2, 2015. After deductions I get $1145.50 a month. I called SS on August 7, 2015 and let them know he had died. I made an appt with SS and took them a copy of marriage and death certificate. I am receiving $598.00 from his SSI plus what I draw from SSD. My question is, since he died August 2, isn’t he owed a check for July?

  242. First, thank you for all you do, Ginita. My question is if my ex dies (we’ve been divorced for 10+ yrs) and (we were married for 15 years) I have not remarried, would I be entitled to the surviving widows ss benefit based on his earning record and is it 100% of what his ss benefit is? We both made a lot of money, but he always made more than I. He is remarried, so if he dies while still married to her, would both her and I be entitled to a 100% surviving widow benefit? Thanks, Deb

  243. I w/b FRA mid 2016. Ex-spouse w/b FRA in Jan 2021 and still employed. Married 30 yrs. w/b divorced 2 yrs. mid 2017. Will not file for SS before mid 2017.
    My current estimated FRA benefit is under $1000/mo. “My” estimate of ex-spouses full FRA benefit is $3,000+, making my benefit on ex-spouses record, $1500 (achieved by ss combining both benefits).
    Since SS will use the ex-spouse’s “estimated” FRA benefit to determine my divorced spouse benefit, will my benefit be adjusted, annually as the ex-spouses FRA benefits increase due to employment, until the actual FRA benefit is achieved? I’m aware that income earned by ex-spouses beyond their FRA, is not included in divorced spouse benefits.
    I have not been able to locate an answer to this question on the net or by calling SS.
    Hopeful that you have the answer.

    • Yes, if he continues to work, it is possible that his benefits will increase each year, and so will your derivative benefits based on his earnings record. This will be true if his current earnings are higher than any of the 35 years of employment that they use to figure his benefits.

  244. Hello,
    Going to retire at age 62 and try to draw from my husband benefits ,if he dies after age 66 can I collect full widows benefits? At a lower rate? or not at all?

  245. Wanting to draw at the age of 62 off my husbands benefits..but if my husband passes will I get full widow benefits or will they be reduced or will I get nothing at all .or should I draw from myself then if something happen that he dies would I get widow benefits then.confused please help.Thanks!

    • If you become a widow, you can receive widow benefits since you will be a widow, which are equal to 100% of what he would get if he had lived. That is true even if you drew reduced benefits at age 62 on your own record or spousal benefits.

  246. If my ex was a police officer and I am now collecting part of his pension due to a QDRO, will this affect my social security or will it affect what I can collect on his? He retired at 50 and has been paying social security taxes before and after becoming a police officer

    • What i meant to say was he worked and payed ss before he was a police officer and now is working and paying ss taxes again. he paid none during his time as a police officer

    • Your social security is reduced if you are collecting a government pension on your own work history, not if you are collecting because you are a spouse or divorced spouse.

  247. Can Social Security require that I prove my ex-husband’s age in order to process my claim for ex-spouse benefits?

    The case worker here where I live is telling me that I either have to obtain my ex-husband’s birth certificate (which I can’t without committing fraud because he was born in a “closed-record” state) or else my ex-husband has to talk to Social Security on the phone to tell them his birth date!

    Good grief.

    Social Security is going to deny my claim because I am not willing to commit fraud and I have no control over what my ex-husband will or won’t do!

  248. My spouse died at the age of 50 and I won’t be able to collect widow social security until I turn 60. My question is will I be allowed to collect on his SS at the age of 60 and continue to work? If I can continue to work, I would wait until I turned 70 to collect on my SS.

    • The way things are going with law changes, you’ll probably have to collect the highest benefit available to you. Also, social security benefits are reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn over a threshold of about $15,000, so collecting early may not benefit you.

  249. This question is for my Mom, she has been collecting SS since age 68 and she is now 72. She just learned that it is possible that she could collect ss from my dad (her ex-husband, they were married over 10 years). he is also 72 and have been collecting SS since he was 68. Can she collect anything extra from his SS or can she only collect from hers or his SS benefit, whichever is greater?

  250. Janice Smith says:

    Hi, this question is for my sister-n-law, she is 55 and on SSD. Her husband who was 67, just passed away and had been drawing SS for a few years. Can she draw her SSD and on her deceased husbands SS? Will she lose the one that is the lesser amount or draw both?

    And if you don’t mind, a question for my mother. She was married twice with both marriages being over 10 years. Can she draw off either husband? The first is still alive and started drawing SS at first eligible age and the second husband is decreased. She is unmarried.

    Thanks for your help,

  251. I am currently employed and am 57 my ex-spouse just turned 62 and may be on Social Security disability and we were married for 28 years. If I was to get laid off from current job could I get Social Security monies from the ex if unemployed/ We have been divorced since 2006 and I have not re-married. I am guessing that he can get SS disability amount until he reaches 66 and then he would get full Social Security amounts once he reaches 66. Or would he get full SS amount currently if he claimed early retirement vs SS disability (guessing the full SS amount would be greater than disability amount?). At time of divorce he was making significantly more than myself. There is a pretty good possibility that I could qualify for SS disability (I got it for a 18 mths in the 90/s) myself so that may be in my near future if things don’t improve. What are the differences in amounts ( for ex spouses) between SS disability and regular SS retirements? And what would ex-spouse benefits be under disability vs regular SS retirement benefits? Any help appreciated.

    • If he has the ability to pay support and the laws of your state allow it, you probably can collect alimony based on his income. As for disability payments vs retirement payments, you’ll have to get those computations from Social Security.

  252. My first husband is decease marry to him for 12 years remarry fo 10 years to second husband now divorce I’m on social security disability can I still get survior benefit from husband 1 & 2 I’m 53 years old and if so at what age can I recieve and about what percent thank you

    • At full retirement age of 66+ you can get surviving divorced spouse benefits on #1 or divorced spouse benefits on #2 or your own benefits, whichever is greater. You can collect reduced surviving divorced spouse benefits as early as age 60 (if they exceed your disability benefits) or divorced spouse benefits or your own benefits as early as age 62 (again, if they exceed your disability benefits).

  253. Hi Mrs.Wall I lost my job in 2013 I had unemployment til the fed. Gov. Stopped the extended unemployment I collected for 8 months.I applied for jobs everywhere,worked in health care 38 years,I was at the top of pay scale,and older women,59 yo at the time.So no unemployment no job,I found out that I could collect survivor benefits from my ex.deceased spouse starting at 60,Had to do it as I had no income,I pretty much lost everything I had,I only get $1153 a month,On my social security page my est. of earnings said I would get $1,350 at 66,the lady at social security told me to wait til 70 and it would grow,how does it grow if you are not working? Anyway now on my social security page it does not have my est. anymore it says n/a
    Does this mean I am now stuck with keeping what I have forever?All those years I worked and I get nothing?I am asking you because I have had different info and wrong info FROM SS What I get from my ex is from his SS disability as he was dying of cancer,he collected for a year then died.Does my work for 38 years mean nothing? Thank You for any info you can give me

    • If you delay collecting your own benefits until age 70, they increase at approx 8% per year. I don’t know why your report says n/a, when it used to give a number. That may be becuase you are collecting surviving divorced spouse benefits now, so they decline to show a figure there.

  254. Luann Woelki says:

    maybe someone could please help me or point away for me to go. i applied for social security and will start collecting this coming march. i tried to start collecting off of my ex husbands social security, but the lady i talk to told me since we were not married 10 yrs there is nothing i can do. our divorce became final in Oct. and we could of been married 10 yrs in Nov. so i fall a month short of the 10 yr mark. i asked the lady if it would make a diff. if we lived common law for 6 months before we were married. and she told me that the federal goverment does not recognize common law marriages. i just dont think its very fair that i cannot collect from his because there is a one month gap in the 10 yr thing. is there anything i can do or say or something that will change that.? if anyone one could help me Please

    • You were given erroneous information by Social Security personnel. Common law spouses and former common law spouses can be eligible for Social Security benefits based on their spouse’s earnings record if their states’ common law marriage requirements are met. States that allow for the formation of common law marriages are Alabama, Colorado, D.C., Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah (if validated by a court order).

      • Luann Woelki says:

        thank you for answering me. we were married in arizona in 1973 , we lived our whole married life in new jersey. thats were we were divorced in 1982. that lady i talk to from social security told me that they do not reconize common law marriages. we lived together for about 1 yr before we married. but that is what she told me they do not reconize common law marriages. so instead of getting a portion of what my ex husband made. ill only be getting like 280 dollars. cause i was the dummy that stayed home and took care of our 4 daughters . thank you anyway for your info. it was much appreciated. thank you again.

  255. I am in my mid-50s and was married for 30 years. My ex is in his late 60s. I spent many years raising a family so there is no way my SS payments will ever catch up. He now receives approximately $2000 a month. I understand that I will eventually be entitled to 50% of that.

    I at first, was under the impression that I would receive this 50% benefit at AGE 62. BUT when I read the Social Security website, it says I would be eligible for that IF I wait until FULL RETIREMENT AGE. I understand that is age 66.

    So, does this mean if I filed at age 62, that I would have a reduced benefit, not the full 50%??

  256. My mother (71) was married to my father (71) from 1970 – 1982. He is remarried to another woman for 30 years. She remarried for about 9 years but just got divorced. I had her call ss to find out if her social security can be based off the first husbands $ instead of hers because I thought his would be larger. The person at social security told me she needed his ss number. I called him and he refused. I think he is being spiteful or just really thinks that it will affect his payment (he gets a pension from the new york police dept). I thought that they would be able to find his information without her needing his ss number and if she does go forward isn’t it anonymous? If he finds out he will be really pissed off and she doesn’t really want to screw him or his current wife. He is a retired NYPD officer so might not even get that much when they deduct the tax free pension part from the social security part but he has been in the private sector for about 30 years now. I’m sure there are other ways for me to find his SS number but would it be worth it? Thanks.

    • Does she have any records from back then that would give his social security number, such as a bank account or credit card application, tax return, W-2 or 1099 form? If not, call social security again and say that you have made every attempt to locate his social security number, so what information do they need to identify him without that number (e.g., his name, date of birth, address, etc). With that information, even if his name is John Smith, it should be easy for them to identify which John Smith he is with certainty.

      • Thanks. She doesn’t have anything. She was going to throw away the divorce papers last year and I told her to hang onto them! I guess he thinks that any payment she gets is going to affect his and his current wife’s payments.

  257. I’m 59 years old, was married for nearly 20 and divorced for 18 years. I’ve been on SSD since 2000. My ex hubby starting recieving SS almost 2 years ago. My SS payment and small pension are at near poverty level. Can i collect any additional SS on his? Or do i have to wait until I’m 62. Thank you so much in advance.

    • Once you are 62 you will receive SSD, your social security retirement, or divorced spouse retirement benefits, whichever is higher.

      • Will my Social Sec6rity Disabilty automaticall change to regular SSA once i tuen 62, then get an additional 50% of my ex hubbys SSA and the pension I’m recieving through pers? From when i was working through the bd of ed for 12 years?

        • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

          When you reach full retirement age your disability payments will convert to retirement benefits. If your divorced spouse benefits exceed that amount, you will receive divorced spouse benefits instead of your own. But in either case, your social security retirement benefits will be reduced by 2/3 of your PERS under the government pension offset provisions (GPO)

  258. 1. Divorced and was married over ten year. I quakify for 1/2 of ex-spouse social security benefits. Correct?
    2. When I apply for it, what happens when he dies?
    I think there is ex-spouse surviving benefits. Will that be 1/2 as well?

    • If you were married for at least 10 years and are currently single, you are eligible for divorced spouse benefits which are the equivalent of 1/2 of what he is entitled to receive. Upon his death, you would received surviving divorced spouse benefits, which are the equivalent of 100% of what he is eligible to receive.

  259. I am 66 yrs old and divorced from my 62 year old ex-husband. I was married to him for 20 years and we’ve been divorced for 7 years. I fully qualify for es-spouse social security benefits on his work record. I went to the local social security office and filed a restricted application for his benefits with the plan to switch to my own when I turn 70. I presented marriage and divorce records and his social security number to access his records. The clerk told me I had to present his original birth certificate or they would have to call him to very his date of birth. I do not want him to know I plan to collect under his record because he wants to reduce his alimony payments by the amount of social security I receive when I start collecting. He thinks this will be when I turn 70 so I do not want him to be aware of my strategy. From all my research I do not find anywhere that I have the burden of presenting his birth certificate – what ex spouse would have that? I believe the local SS office has misinterpreted the regulations. Can you tell me if this is accurate? I was told by someone else that they can verify his date of birth in their system with his SS number. Please inform me. Thank you very much.

  260. I was married for 20 years and got a divorce.My ex husband work for the Govt . In my settlement agreement papers it states I get half of my exhusband pension . I was disable when we got a divorce . I only recive $700.00 and $609.00 after they pay A & b part of my social security disability benefits. My question is will I get also half of his social security benefits when he retires. I’m thinking he will retire at age 64 I’m not sure yet . Above as you see I guess I should keep my own and collect on the half portion of his when I turn 67 or a little earlier to get the maximum 50 percent ? Also am I entitled to get half of his SS benefits . Will he also have to share his portion with his new wife and this want effect my half at all . Also, he has changed his life insurance package from his job to lessen the amout to have to pay out of his check because Govt up his amount to pay . And wasn’t I suppose to be notified of anything that goes on behind my back . This has a gold seal that I sent to them from the court from the judge they have . Most important will I get half of his SS along with his Pension .

    • If you are getting Social Security disability, once you are age 62 or older, that will convert to Social Security retirement at the point that your retirement benefits are greater than the disability benefits. What you get and when you get it are independent of when your former spouse retires or his marital status. If he is not doing what the court ordered him to do, you may need to take legal action to force compliance.

  261. He is employed with the United State Army base but not in the military . I also receive alimony and don’t get a raise each year . I had to add an extension about the spousal annuity support if something should happen to him . I also want to know if he should lose his job will I still receive half his pension . And be protected by the Gov’t to still collect .

    • If you were awarded a portion of his retirement, then you will get that at the point at which he can collect. If it is reduced or eliminated because he loses his job, your portion will be reduced or eliminated as well.

  262. Also, I am 57 now recieved my divorce in 2002 after 20 years of marriage . I also want to know when I recive my half of his Pension and decide to remarry will I lose his Pension and will I still get half of his SS ? I know it states in my settlement agreement if I remarried ill lose my alimony . Alimony is different from receiving half his Pension . So if I should re-marry after 62 will I lose anything ?

    • The pension was likely awarded to you as property and is not affected by your marital status. Generally alimony will cease upon your remarriage. If you remarry, you will receive your own social security or spousal benefits based on your new husband’s earnings history, not your former husband’s earnings history.

  263. QUESTION:
    I was married Nov. 04, 1994. My husband had worked different places, but had to apply for Soc Sec Disability in 1996 I believe.
    Recently, I was put on SSD.
    So I need someone to “dumb it down for me”.
    If he gets MORE SSD , am I supposed to be given money based on HIS SSD if he gets more than me?

  264. I am 60 and on SSDI. I was married over 10 yrs and am divorced and single. My ex husband is the same age and is still working. He told me if he retires at age 62, he would get $1800 a month which would entitle me to 1/2 that amount. If he waits until 66 to retire, that amount would be considerably higher, meaning my 1/2 would also be greater. I’ve called Social Security four times and asked them what I should do at age 62 and received 4 different answers. I assume that I would continue collecting SSDI until age 66 and it would then convert over to my ex husbands, which is a lot more than what my SS would have been. My question to them and to you is – Do I need to call Social Security at age 62 or do I just continue on SSDI until age 66 when it would simply convert over to my ex husbands SS?

    • It is my understanding that you would collect SSDI until you are age 66. But just to be safe, when you are 62 you should contact Social Security and ask them that question. The rules are subject to change, and you want to be sure you get your full benefits.

  265. Phyllis says:

    Why are my divorced spousal benefits only $2.10. I turned 62 Jan. 30. How is this calculated? Is this the new law? Married 25 years and did not pay into S.S for most of those years because i was raising children. Seems unfair.

    • There is no new law that would affect the calculation of spousal benefits. You can ask Social Security to let you know how they computed those benefits. Perhaps he worked in jobs that were under systems other than social security.

  266. Keith Pyne says:


    A friend is turning 66 on May 30, 2016. She is self-employed and is planning on delaying SS until she turns 70.

    She is divorced, was married for 20+ years, and did not remarry. Her ex-husband is 68, retired, and earned more than she did.

    I want to tell her of the 50% of her ex-husbands benefit to which she is entitled, however, the new rules, heck, even the old rules make deciding what course to pursue rather unclear. Moreover, online advice seems spotty as everyone attempts to determine the implications of the rules changes. One advisor has even suggested that file and suspend may be available even for those who, like my friend, turn 66 before September 2016, but after April 29, relying on the 4-month legislative rule. SS’s latest guidelines even SEEM to hint at this. Or not.

    I do not want to give my friend inaccurate guidance. Nor do I want her to go to SS without a solid grasp of these complexities to be left depending on the iffy knowledge and training of SS personnel, good intentions though they usually have.

    May I ask what my friend should do? Had it yet been determined whether people in her situation, assuming she takes action by April 29, may file and suspend, and collect the 50% spousal benefit until 70?

    A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing; I want to give her the best possible recommendation.

    Thank you so very much

    • To collect her divorced spouse benefit instead of her own, she will file a restricted claim once she reaches full retirement age. That will allow her to get divorced spouse benefits and let her own benefits be enhanced at 8% per year until she is age 70, at which point she can switch over to her own benefits. She can do this because she was at least 62 by the end of 2015. There is nothing she needs to do by April 29. She will not file and suspend, because those rules are for someone who wants to delay her own benefit while still entitling a spouse to collect spousal benefits.

  267. Lori Lou says:

    I am 66 and plan on working until age 68. I was married for 17 years to Spouse #1 (who had a higher earnings record than mine), divorced him, remarried in 2012 (at my age 62) to Spouse #2 (who had a smaller earnings record than mine). I stopped in to the Social Security office and gave them all the specifics. They looked us all up and said under the “new law” I am entitled to spousal benefits (under Spouse #1) even though I am remarried and both Spouse #1 and Spouse #2 are living. Was I given bad advice?

  268. I will be 66 in August. I plan on filing a restricted claim for ex spousal benefits May 1, 2016. I do plan to remarry sometime following the initiation of my spousal benefit. (Thank you for clarifying that I will not have the 12 month waiting period). My partner is 68 and also divorced, and plans to continue working until age 70. He just filed a claim for restricted benefits on his ex spouse’s record today. Because we are not married, he did not file and suspend. When we do marry, it is likely that he will not be 70 yet, so not claiming on his own record. Will I still be able to switch my benefit to his record even though he has only filed a restricted claim? Thank you for your work.

  269. I’m trying to decide the most advantageous time to start taking SS benefits. I am 63, divorced after over 20 years of marriage and have not remarried, so I know I’m eligible to receive half my ex’s benefit. However, I was a teacher for 20 years and am receiving a pension from my state teachers’ retirement fund. My understanding is that if I wait until I’m 66, I can receive the highest amount by taking the derivative benefit (my ex’s salary was always significantly higher than mine) then switch to receiving my benefit at age 70. Is that correct?

    • Your divorced spousal benefits will be offset by 2/3 of your teacher’s pension, if you were not covered under social security system during the time you were teaching. If you were covered under social security, then you can file for restricted benefits at age 66 and take divorced spouse benefits, letting your own benefits grow until age 70.

      • Thanks for your response. I had social security earnings at a job prior to teaching but not during the years I taught. How does that impact my benefits situation?

  270. I’m divorced after 30 years of marriage. I’ve never remarried and will turn 62, two weeks after my ex. He turns 62 this June 14th.

    Can I opt to take SS divorced-spouse benefits based on his earnings while letting my own account grow until I’m 70? By delaying benefits from my account they’ll grow approximately 8% a year for eight years.

    He’s made far more than me but the earnings cap will likely negate the difference. If I opt to take half of his rate at 62, or an early retirement divorced spouse rate, can I take my full retirement rate at 70 by switching to my benefits then?

    Thanks for your help,

    • If you take benefits at age 62, your benefits will be reduced for life because you took them early. Since you were born after 1/2/54 or later, you cannot choose which benefit to take — the new law requires you to take whatever benefit is higher.

  271. Jennifer says:

    I have never worked I stayed home and raised my children. I was married for over ten years and now divorced. Because I have never worked can I still collect on my exs social security and I do I need to be 62 or 66?

  272. I am 54 and my ex husband is 56 I am on disability and have been for 5 years, when can I collect on his SSI since his will be higher than mine?

  273. I was married for 39 years and my husband passed away he was 69 and drawing his Social Security I was 56 when he passed away. I remarried two years ago and my new husband did not want me to work so I quit my Job. We have been married for almost two years. I am now 60. My husband now wants a Divorce from me. If we do Divorce. When the Divorce is final can I apply for Widow’s benefits? I have no income.

  274. I started my social security at age 62, my husband started his at age 66. If he dies before me will I be able to get his full Social Security.
    I am currently 67

  275. What if you are collecting Spousal Benefits and then get a Divorce? Do you lose your spousal benefits from SS?
    Both husband and I are at FRA and he is collecting his SS benefits, and I had filed a Restricted Application and now collect spousal benefits and have delayed my own benefits so that they can grow another couple of years until I retire. I may be getting a divorce by years end and wondered if spousal benefits would continue.

    • Since you are receiving spousal benefits based on his earnings history, those should covert over to divorced spouse benefits. There would be a waiting period after the divorce is final if you weren’t currently receiving benefits, but since you are, I believe that your monthly checks will continue, just be called divorced spouse benefits instead of spousal benefits.

  276. I have a question…. and can never seem to get a straight answer. My husband and I were married for 4 years before he passed away. At the time of his death, he was receiving SSI – about $2000.00 a month. I am turning 60 in a few months and am wondering if I am entitled to any of his benefits since I am planning on continuing to work in a job where I make about 38,000.00 to 40,000.00 a year. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Since you are not yet full retirement age (66+), your benefit will be reduced to 71.5% of what he could collect. So if he was collecting $2000, your benefit would be about $1400. It would further be reduced by $1 for each $2 you earn over $15,720 per year. So if you earn $40,000 a year, you’ll lose about $1000 a month in benefits. So you’d end up with only $400 per month until you stopped working, and then get only $1400 a month after that, compared to the full $2000 you could receive if you waited until age 66 to collect.

  277. I elected to receive early retirement at age 62. I have been married three times (sorry to say). The first husband just retired at age 65 and we were married for ten years, and he never remarried. My second and third husband are deceased, and neither marriage lasted ten years. Do I have any rights to his social security benefits without affecting the money he now receives.

    • It is unclear from your post whether any of your marriages ended in death rather than divorce. If so, you are entitled to receive widow’s benefits based on that spouse, or your own benefits, whichever is higher. Or you can receive divorced spouse benefits based on Husband #1, if that gives you a higher benefit than you are now getting. What you receive will not affect what he gets.

  278. I am 33, I was married to my husband until 2007, when he passed away. We have two children together. I currently receive survivor benefits for myself and our two children. I have not remarried, but would like to. If I remarry would I lose my portion of my benefits or would it just be allocated to our two children? I have seen conflicting things, one thing says I would lose it, the other thing I saw said that it would be split between the two kids. Which is right?

    • If the benefit payments are limited by the family maximum amount, then you not receiving payments will increase the amount that is allocable to the children. You can ask Social Security whether that it true in your case.

  279. Karrie says:

    I will be 52yrs in July. On ss disability, based on my own income, (which is below poverty) due to serious brain disorder,for last 5yrs. Years ago, I was married, (to a man who is still earning a very decent income) for 13yrs, then divorced, and then remarried for 5yrs, and divorced. Should I be receiving disability based on my own income now, or that of my 1st marriage? Or should I wait until I’m of a certain age to claim anything (disability or reg. SS) from my first marriage? Your help would be appreciated more than ever. Thank you!

    • Make sure that the Social Security people know all the circumstances of your marriages (dates married and divorced) so they can pay you the highest benefit possible. You are probably getting that already, but check with them to be sure that they have all the pertinent facts.

  280. Harry Brooks says:

    I was planning on taking my social security benefits at age 62, which is in about 4 months…I was married for 31 years and got a divorce about 6 years ago… My wife worked for 5 years early in our marriage and then was a stay at home mom.. she remarried about 5 years ago and started back teaching school making an income for the last 5 years….My question is can i receive benefits on her whole working career or just for the time we were married and can I collect those at 62 along with my benefits…Thank You

  281. Mary Guterson says:

    I am so happy to find this site. I was married for 24 years and am now divorced. I am nearly 58 years old. I would like to remarry my new partner (he was also married for more than 20 years and is now divorced). However, we cannot figure out the SS consequences. Both men–my ex-husband and my new partner–have been well-paid, life-long employees/workers and I believe they have both therefore “maxed out” on the amount their SS benefit will be when they each decide to collect. How many years would I need to be re-married to receive benefits through my new spouse (if we married)? Does it make financial sense to marry him (in terms of SS benefits)? And is it dumb to remarry before age 60–i’m now aware of a widow’s benefit that I would be eligible for if my first husband dies (i do not want him to die, but I also don’t want to be stupid). It seems that a widow’s benefit (even for a divorced spouse who remarries after 60) is worth 100% of the former spouse’s benefits…. I am so completely confused and don’t know what to do. I’m afraid to remarry and then have something happen to my new husband and I’m left without anyone’s benefits, or worse benefits than I would have gotten had I stayed single and just lived together with my new partner. I hope this makes sense. Thanks so much.

    • PS please do not use my last name if you post my comment. Just use “Mary.” Thank you.

    • You must be married one year and be of retirement age to collect spousal benefits based on your new husband’s earnings history. If your marriage ends in death of your new spouse, you could collect widow’s benefits based on his earnings history or on your ex’s earnings history, whichever is greater. If you waited to remarry until age 60, when your ex died you could collect widow benefits based on his earnings history, even though you are still married to your new husband.

      • Thanks so much for your quick reply.
        Can you please clarify the following for me, if possible:
        If both my ex and the man I’m thinking of marrying have been working steadily for the last 35 years (with good salaries), would they have each max’d out by now on the amount of SS they will receive? Would each be eligible for the same maximum amount allowed? I’m wondering if I would receive the same amount of SS if I married and collected through my new husband or if i did not marry and collected through my ex (I know I am entitled to an amount equal to half of what each will get).
        Also, if I wait until 60 to marry and my first husband dies (in which case I would be eligible for widow benefits) do i get both widow benefits from my ex AND SS through a new husband? or is it one or the other (I’m guessing it is the latter)? It is very uncomfortable to ask such questions, but i feel they must be asked in order to make the right life decisions.
        It seems prudent to not marry until age 60. That way, in the event my former spouse dies, I would collect widow benefits until I decide to collect SS through my new husband when I turn 66 and a half. Does that make sense? Is that best way to proceed?
        Also, I cannot figure out how to edit my first question to you in order to remove my last name from my post. Can you either delete that post from me, or tell me how to edit my last name out? I’d really appreciate it.
        Thanks again.

      • I am so happy to find this site. I was married for 24 years and am now divorced. I am nearly 58 years old. I would like to remarry my new partner (he was also married for more than 20 years and is now divorced). However, we cannot figure out the SS consequences. Both men–my ex-husband and my new partner–have been well-paid, life-long employees/workers and I believe they have both therefore “maxed out” on the amount their SS benefit will be when they each decide to collect. How many years would I need to be re-married to receive benefits through my new spouse (if we married)? Does it make financial sense to marry him (in terms of SS benefits)? And is it dumb to remarry before age 60–i’m now aware of a widow’s benefit that I would be eligible for if my first husband dies (i do not want him to die, but I also don’t want to be stupid). It seems that a widow’s benefit (even for a divorced spouse who remarries after 60) is worth 100% of the former spouse’s benefits…. I am so completely confused and don’t know what to do. I’m afraid to remarry and then have something happen to my new husband and I’m left without anyone’s benefits, or worse benefits than I would have gotten had I stayed single and just lived together with my new partner. I hope this makes sense. Thanks so much.

  282. Jody Neubert says:

    I am 68, married for 10 years and divorced 20 years ago, and considering remarriage to a man who is 66. I am not drawing social security, though I did apply to file and suspend just before April 30, 2016, when that option became unavailable. Social security has asked me if I would like to start collecting based on my ex-husband’s record. He is 62, and SSA told me I could be getting half his full retirement amount. I know that if I do so, and then marry my 2nd husband, I will no longer be able to collect on my ex-husband’s record . . . but two other issues arise, based on future possibilities: 1. When I remarry, does SSA require that I then begin drawing payments based on my own earnings records? Or will SSA require that I switch to my new husband’s account (half of which will be slightly higher than my full amount right now)? My intention is to keep my own payments suspended in order to let my own account continue to gain value 2. If I remarry and switch to my 2nd husband’s account, and then happen to get divorced, will SSA require that my future payments still be based on my 2nd husband’s account? Or, if my own account would be worth more, will they allow me to switch back to my own at age 70 (when my own payment will be slightly higher than half my 2nd husband’s would be today).

    • Jody Neubert says:

      I know this is a complicated issue, and the SSA person I am working with told me today that they need my answer by next Tuesday! So if you see this and have time, I would be so happy to get your opinion! Thanks!

    • If you file for benefits based on your former spouse’s history, when you remarry you can switch over to your current spouse’s history without waiting a year after the marriage, assuming that he is either collecting or has filed and suspended. If you then divorced, you could continue collecting based on his history without waiting two years after the divorce is final. At age 70 you can switch to your own benefits. Check with social security to be sure this is the way it would work. I’m a little unsure as to why you filed and suspended, since you don’t have a spouse who wants to collect on your earnings history, but I don’t think that it does any harm.

  283. First, thank you for helping with these questions…

    I had a 10 year first marriage that ended in divorce..
    I remarried at 45 and was widowed at 54. Not married now.
    Everything I read including the SS Publication says that if my 2nd marriage ended due to
    death, divorce or annulment that I am able to consider my first husbands benefits and his surviving spouse
    benefit should he die. First husband was a very high earner so this question is important to my retirement plans.
    I have talked to 2 different SS Agents that are adamant that my 2nd marriage before 60
    disqualifies me from my first marriage benefits. They said the “unmarried” qualification means
    never remarried. I asked what the phrase “unless marriage ends due to death,divorce or annulment ” meant and the lady got mad and she was done explaining and would not let me speak with a supervisor to get my answer.
    I cannot be the only one with this situation but it feels like that right now.
    Please help me know the right answer and if I can draw on husband # 1 how do I convince SS .

    • I have been eagerly waiting for an answer…

    • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

      You are right. They are wrong. Here is what the Social Security policy manual says:

      RS 00202.046 Entitlement of a Divorced Spouse After Termination of Subsequent Marriage – Policy

      The divorced spouse can be entitled or re-entitled to benefits if he or she was divorced from the NH and remarried but the later marriage terminated, provided the other requirements for entitlement are met.

  284. Carmen Quezada says:

    I have a question I hope you will be able to answe me. I have Calpers retirement, I would like to retire when I turn 60 year with Calpers. I have worked in California since 1976, I have 40 years paying social security. If I stop working at the age of 60, will that reduce my social security benefits ? I’m planing to start collecting SS at full retirement age. Will I get penalized for stop working. Thank you