27 Replies Latest reply on May 30, 2013 9:56 AM by TomB

    SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)

    CraigS
      My understanding is that a divorved spouse can collect SS benefits based on their "EX's" benefits provided they were married at least 10 years.  I was wondering, could not an individual, over their lifetime, have  a series of 6 to 8 such 'marriages' and consequently cause SS to pay out benefits to all such ex-partners (who have no obligation to have ever contributed to the SS system themselves)?
         I'm sure this provision of SS regulations was fashioned at an earlier time when divorce was the exception, and was included primarily to give an ex-spouse (primarily women?) some sort of 'just compensation' for having endured an 'unsuccessful' marriage.  But in a 'new age' where serial marriage is more the norm than the exception, it this provision not an invitation to abuse?     Just wondering....
       
        • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
          Lilybee
          The qualifying pay out to an ex-spouse is the requirement of having been married 10 years to the divorced person and not having married again; whether it's one spouse or 10 spouses.  Each payout is considered a separate entity and does not affect the other divorced spouses.
          As an example, my former husband has been married three times for more than 10 years with each wife.  When he dies (he has Alzheimers now), each of his wives will be able to collect the difference between his SS and her SS, if his was larger, which will be added to her own payout, as long as she has not remarried.   
           
          I can't imagine anyone living long enough to abuse that 10-year and single requirement in multi-marriages.  But, I guess weirder things have happened.
          • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
            DougR1
            Whoa, whoa,whoa !!!!!!!!!!!!
            Do you mean to tell me that I can collect on my Former-Spouses SS  account (married 28 years) because i haven't remarried  and she has????
            • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
              mpeterson53kazoo
              Yes you can Craig.  I plan to collect DSB (divorced spouse benefits) when I retire.  Especially since my ex-husband earned significantly higher salaries that I ever did and the benefit is based on those amounts.  MP
                • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                  ojaigirl
                  At what point in one's own life (divorced, married over 10 years, and at age 62? age 66? later?) is it most beneficial to apply for a portion of my living ex-spouse's benefits which he is already collecting and which are higher than mine? I am now 64 and a half and contemplating retiring.
                    • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                      sandyvoit
                      My understanding is that if you haven't since remarried by age 62, and if you wait until your full retirement age, you would have a choice. You could initially file for spousal benefits under his earnings (so, if he were to be eligible for $2000/mo, then you would get $1000/mo, assuming you were same age). Then your benefits keep growing at 8%/year. So if at age 66 you would be eligible for $1000/mo, when you switch over at age 70 you would get $1320/mo (plus whatever COLA increases were awarded).
                      If you file under spousal benefits before your full retirement age you would be "stuck" with his. Either way, should he die, you would then be eligible   for his survivor benefit. Remember that although you may qualify for more than one benefit, you can only receive one at a time.
                      Go to www.ssa.gov and search under "divorce" ...
                      Sandy Voit 
                       
                        • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                          momhlpr
                          Can I receive social security under his benefits if I have not remarried and he has ? How will I know when he has filed?
                           
                            • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                              libraryGal
                              Your ex-spouse does not have to file for their own social security  benefits for you to be eligible to receive a benefit based on their  record, but they have to be eligible for those benefits. (They must be  at least age 62, the earliest age you become eligible for your social security retirement benefits.)
                                • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                  Annielee
                                  Hi, my ex is 8 years younger than me. Does that mean I can't collect until he reaches 62? I would be 70. So would I collect on my own benefits at 62 and at 70 collect on his if it is higher?
                                   
                                  Thanks
                                   
                                    • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                      libraryGal
                                      Unfortunately, I don't believe that you are eligible to collect  spousal benefits until your spouse is eligible (age 62) unless he  happens to die (and I'm not suggesting anything :). 
                                      From what I understand, you can collect your own benefits starting at age 62 and then switch to his at 70.
                                       
                                      There are factors that you must consider too:  do either of you  qualify for a pension based on work not covered by Social Security -  that would lower the amount you are able to receive.

                                      If you start collecting benefits at age 62, your benefit  will be reduced due to the early collection calculation.  But the good  news is that because your spouse isn't collecting, you won't forced to  take your spousal benefit early, which would mean that  it would  be permanently reduced.  Also, you won’t be automatically  deemed to be  applying for spousal benefits when your ex reaches age 62.   
                                       
                                      So I believe that at age 70, once your spouse is eligible for  social security, you can then apply for your spousal benefit which  shouldn't be reduced (but I'm not sure if it is increased because you're  now age 70)
                                       
                                      All of this assumes that the amount you will receive is less than  1/2 of the amount your ex-spouse will receive and that you haven't  remarried.
                                       
                                      Also, if your ex-spouse dies even after you begin drawing benefits,  you're eligible for survivor benefits (the amount he was eligible for  when he died) even if he's remarried and has a current spouse who is  also eligible for those benefits.
                                       
                                      The best thing to do is to make an appointment at your local soc.  sec office and discuss these options/scenarios with someone there.
                                       
                                      Good luck!
                          • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                            jr1960
                            So my question comes from the perspective of, I married a man who is divorced, his first wife hasn't remarried, we still have 10 years before collecting ss but is there anything we can do to keep her from collecting 1/2 of his ss benefits?  Does what my husband will collect change if she chooses to collect on him and would he know if she tried to collect?  Does he have any say so?
                              • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                SyrGigi
                                jr1960 said...
                                So my question comes from the perspective of, I married a man who is divorced, his first wife hasn\'t remarried, we still have 10 years before collecting ss but is there anything we can do to keep her from collecting 1/2 of his ss benefits?  Does what my husband will collect change if she chooses to collect on him and would he know if she tried to collect?  Does he have any say so?
                                You need not worry about his ex-wife changing your retirement income in any way.
                                 
                                Whether or not she collects on your husbands credits will not affect what your husband collects when he chooses to start receiving social security.  In fact, I don't think you will even know about it nor can you do anything to "prevent" her from doing this.
                                 
                                She is not taking money from your personal deposits in SS.  That isn't how the system works.  Instead she is qualifying to receive benefits based on the fact that she was married for more than the required amount of time to a person who earned more than the required amount of credits.  If she also worked during her lifetime her SSA benefits may be more than 1/2 of the benefits of her former spouse. In that case she will collect on only her own benefits.  If her amount is less, SSA will augment those benefits to equal 1/2 of her spouses benefits based on the age she chooses to begin collecting.
                                 
                                If she remarries she will not be eligible for his benefits during the time she is married.
                              • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                charpetty
                                Don't you have to have been married at least 10 years to get SS benefits based on a spouses record?
                                • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                  joan136
                                  If you apply for benefits prior to your full retirement age you have to take your own benefit, at a prorated reduced amount, and if your spouses benefit is greater then yours, you will receive some additional benefit from his, thus, making claim on both at the same time. Nothing changes for you at any age in the future.
                                  • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                    BATC
                                    What happens if you remarry.   Your spouse is still working, but you are collecting SS benefits.    If you ex passes, can you request a change in benefits and start to receive the ex's allotment on your now monthly check?
                                     
                                    My reason for asking is that my spouses ex just past and they were married for over 10 years.   He receives SS benefits, his own, but can he expect an increase or seek an increase to receive his ex's allotment entitlement?
                                      • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                        MaryMc
                                        That depends on your spouse's age at the time he was remarried to you. In general, a person cannot claim SS benefits on a former deceased spouse's SS record following a remarriage that took place before the age of 60. But you can tell your spouse that if you and he divorce, or if you pass away, or if your marriage is annulled, he will be able to claim SS benefits based on his first deceased spouse's SS record. Also, if your spouse had never married you, he would be able to claim SS benefits on his first deceased spouse's SS record. In the hypothetical instances described in the last two sentences, benefits would be the greater of either his benefit entitlement, or his former deceased spouse's benefits. Exceptions apply, such as when disability is involved. For more information you can probably Google:
                                         
                                        social security benefit
                                        death
                                        remarriage    
                                      • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                        sap
                                        Can I collect my ex ss benefits at 62 and continue working until I'm 66?  He comitted bigamy and so is not legally married to the person.  Also, I have been married to the bum for over 10 years since I'm not divorced.
                                        • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                          sap
                                          please answer my question
                                          • Re: SS Benefits -> Divorced Spouse(s)
                                            sap
                                            Can I collect my ex ss benefits at 62 and continue working until I'm 66?  He comitted bigamy and so is not legally married to the person.  Also, I have been married to the bum for over 10 years since I'm not divorced. Please answer
                                                 
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