23 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2013 5:08 PM by mamajana

    Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66

      I still work full-time. My understanding is if I wait until I am 66 to take SS, which is coming very soon, then I can take my divorced spouses SS benefit, since we were married for over 10 years.  Later at age 70,  I would need to take my own SS. Has anyone done this?  It seems like a win-win.........Especially since I am still working full-time. Thanks for input.
        • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
          MyR Community Manager
          camry,
           
          Thank you for creating a new discussion thread! We appreciate and enjoy your participation in the MyRetirement.org online community and look forward to your future contributions.
          • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
            ladyjustice
            This is a very good question . However, it may be that each state has a different rule on this matter. I am going to research the information for PA and try to give you an answer.
             
            Thank  you for sharing!
            • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
              I believe you are right.  But I would check with others. 
              And, by the way, I have heard that there is considerable misinformation on this topic among agents who work in local Social Security offices.
                • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                  mamajana
                  That is absolutely true!  My husband passed away last year (1/31/2012).  We were still legally married, although we lived in different states.  I was 65 years old and still working full time; my husband was retired and receiving social security benefits.  
                  I was first told by a social security rep that I would be eligible to collect my husband's social security.  Then another one told me I was ineligible, but could not explain why.  I decided to retire this January effective July 31, 2013 and applied for social security online effective August 1.  At that point I was informed I could collect my husband's social security and I did until I began receiving my own benefits in August.  If you talk to three different reps, you'll get three different answers!
                • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                  LBS
                  The amount that you can receive is 1/2 of your spouses SS benefit as of their 66 birthday.  This depends also on their year of birth.  The check will be direct deposited and also, you will be placed on Medicare part "A" only while you are still working.  The card you will receive will be connected to the spouses' SS#, not yours!  When you do retire, or after you start collecting your own SS benefits, then you will be given a new Medicare card tied to your SS #.  As you work past your 66 birthday, your SS account will continue to grow.  At 70, there is no need to not switch to your SS# benefits.  If you continue to work onward, past 70, each year, SS will adjust your check slightly, since you will be still paying into it.  As I said, slightly.  Hope this helps.  I started drawing on my spouses SS Benefits this year when I turned 66.  You cannot collect unless you were married 10 years and 1 day!!  It has been good for us so far.
                    • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                      Cheryl1960
                      Hello,
                       
                      So what I am gathering from the discussion is that although I have been divorced 11 years and was married 13 to him, I might be eligible for a portion of his SS?  I am 53 now, still working and he is remarried 11 years and is now 68.  I am in Michigan, so what do you think?
                        • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                          LBS
                          I have discussed with several SS employees over the years before collecting against my wife's SS.  There two factors are 1) you were married for 10 years and one twenty-four hour day, but, you are not 66.  SS will compute what his SS benefit was on his 66 birthday.  You two were married for the 10 years + one whole day.  He's 66+.  This options will only affect him, if his now wife is drawing against his benefits!  Otherwise, he will never see a change in his benefit check.  Since I am a husband of 44 years.  If my wife and I divorced and she applied against my benefits, I'd say go for it.  BUT!!, sad to say, you are not qualified yet.  You only apply against his SS benefit the month of your 66 birthday.  Sorry, if I didn't make that clear.  I also know that children can apply against a parent's SS benefit check, if they are still in school and/or handicapped.  Those options are fussy with me.  I would suggest that you contact your local SS office to be 100% sure.  I would advise you to proceed ASAP.  If you cannot collect now, you can when you turn 66.  I know that's a long time from now, but time will come and you might need it a whole lot then, when you get ready to retire.  Good luck Cheryl, I pray that you will be able to apply and receive what's legally yours to receive.
                      • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                        LBS
                        Also, if your spouse has been remarried 10 years and one day, their new spouse can also apply for this benefit.  In that case, the maximum benefits paid out is 1/2 the spouse or ex-spouse's 66 SS benefit.  Therefore, the benefit would be divided equally between the number of persons applying against their SS.  This doesn't affect the spouses' paid out monthly amount from SS.  Therefore, they will not know if you have applied against their SS benefit.  Only if they have another spouse that's collecting at this time.  They would see a decrease in the monthly deposit by half.  When they check as to why the benefit has been reduced, SS would then inform them that another person with legal rights has applied and is now collecting also.
                          • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                            Pam_M
                            Per the Social Security Web site: 
                            The amount of benefits you get has no affect on the amount of benefits your ex-spouse or their current spouse receive. 
                             
                            You may take the option to claim on an ex-spouse:
                            1) When you reach your Full social security age
                            2) If you were married 10+ years
                            3) And you are not currently married.
                             
                            Your benefit level at that point will be 1/2 of the ex-spouse's Full benefit level regardless of when the spouse began claiming benefits.  (ie: No increased benefit if the spouse delayed taking benfits and no penalty if the spouse took early retirement.) 
                            You may opt to change over to your benefit level, if it is higher, at any time but if you do, you cannot change back.  At age 70 go for it as there would be no increased benefit level because of further delay.
                             
                            If you are not at (or over) your full retirement age, you do not get a choice.  The benefit will be determined by which ever is higher, your benefit or the spousal benefit.
                              • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                Cariola
                                So glad you mentioned that drawing on your ex-spouse's SS makes no difference in the amount he will receive.  It was confusing when it says "1/2 the amount."  I will turn 66 next year, and my ex turns 66 about two weeks later.  It's likely he will be trying to draw on mine as he was on disability for several years, so I'm very happy to know this won't reduce my eventual benefits.  But to do this, one needs to be retired and one working, and both over 66, correct?
                                This might be tricky for me in terms of Medicare.  My place of employment made me sign up for Part A when I turned 65, so I have an account with my own SS# already.  To switch a year later to an account under my ex's SS, then switch back to one under my own SS in two years when I retire might be a little too confusing to the bureaucrats.  I would not want to mess up my retirement health care benefits.
                                  • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                    Pam_M
                                    Once you reach full retirement age, your working status is immaterial as far as claiming Social Security and working.  Once you reach full retirement age there is no penalty or reduction in benefits from social security regardless of if you are claiming on your own record or that of a spouse.  However, if you continue to work and are claiming on your benefit, there could be be a small increase each year beyond any Social Security cost of living increase because you are still contributing to the base amount your benefits are based on. 
                                     
                                    Age is the 1st thing to consider in claiming benefits.  For your ex to be able to claim on your record, he cannot already be claiming benefits on his record, the marriage had to have lasted 10+ yrs and he cannot have remarried.  If his record would mean benefits under it would be less than those under your record he can claim at any time after he turned 62.  He has to be 66 (Full retirement age) to have a choice as to which way he wants to go. 
                                     
                                    In my case:  My ex took early retirement and began collecting at 62.  At my full retirement age of 66 I will take the "spousal" benefit option and not plan on receiving the benefits based on my own record until I reach 70.   From age 66-70 I will get 50% of what his benefit would have been if he waited until 66.  In the meantime the benefit based on my record increases 8% a year until I claim at 70.  A pretty good rate of return in my opinion as I can afford to have the lower benefit for those years. 
                                     
                                    Because your Medicare account was opened based on your record, I don't believe any thing to do with your Social Security decisions would impact your retirement health benefits.  Medicare and Social Security are linked but not as tightly as some people expect.  As a result Medicare starts at 65 not at retirement age.  You can't get it if you retire before 65 and you don't have wait until "full" retirement age.  In fact there can be penalty if you wait to enroll in Part B and don't have comperable health coverage.  
                                     
                                • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                  gracia2
                                  I was told at the SS office here that this is not true.  I can collect on my divorced spouse's SS (getting half) at age 66 and it will not affect the payment to him or his current wife.  Therefore, no need for them to know.
                                • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                  Memaw
                                  You are correct - I am currently doing this -
                                   
                                  • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                    mawg46
                                    Yes, you can collect on your divorced spouse's SS provided you have been married the 10 years plus 1 day and provided you have not remarried.  During the time you're collecting on your spouse's SS your own continues to earn about 8% per year from your full retirement age to age 70.  Once you reach age 70, your SS no longer accrues any further interest.  At that point you can switch from the spousal benefit to your own if you choose.  Two factors need to be considered in making this decision.  You should select whichever will pay the higher benefit.  And, since on the death of your former spouse, the spousal benefit increases to the spouse's FULL benefit, it might make sense to remain on the spousal benefit even if it is not the highest currently.  Once you've been on the spousal benefit and you switch to your own, you can't go back on the spousal benefit again. :>)
                                    • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                      I work full time and just started receiving benefits on my ex's record. It was relatively easy if you have all the paperwork proving you were married, divorced, and that he exists (i.e. birth certificate or he has to acknowledged you as a former spouse with SS dept). 
                                       
                                      Just remember you will be taxed on the benefits which could put you in a higher tax bracket if you are working. My ex's benefits are considerably less than mine so I'm able to manage the taxes. I am offsetting taxes by increasing my pretax retirement deduction from my earnings and am having taxes taken out of the SS benefits. The remaining benefits are being invested in a ROTH IRA.
                                      • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                        2cats
                                        I am also working full time and started drawing SS 18 mos ago when I turned 66 on my late husband's SS#.  SS actually called me after I submitted an online app under my SS# to say I would receive $600 more a month if I filed under his SS#....then at 70 I will switch to my SS# which is now continuing to increase.  The magical age of 66 for us early baby-boomers is when one can start drawing SS and still work full time and not have to pay back to SS part of that income.  I also had taxes taken out up front on the SS payment which allows one to have better idea throughout the year of projected amount one may have to pay when income taxes are filed.
                                        • Re: Taking divorced spouses social security benefit at age 66
                                          Celsa
                                          Yes...I just visited the SS office on Monday. She said I will get 50% of my divorced spouse's total monthly (which happens to be $100 more than my TOTAL monthly).  I thought I could start taking it right away ( since I am almost 65).  However, she told me that I could not begin to take from his until I am 66.  If I begin to take from mine, that will null and void taking from his.