Ex-Spouse Benefits and You

A worried woman holds her ring finger- she's been through a divorce.No doubt about it — thinking of an ex-spouse can be emotional. And, if your finances have changed for the worse since the breakup, even more emotions can surface.

We have news that may relieve some of your stress…

If you are age 62, unmarried, and divorced from someone entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you may be eligible to receive benefits based on his or her record.

There are other rules, of course. You must have been married to your ex-spouse for 10 years or more. If you’ve remarried, you can’t collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later marriage ended by annulment, divorce, or death. Also, if you’re entitled to benefits on your own record, your benefit amount must be less than you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work. In other words, we’ll pay the higher of the two benefits for which you’re eligible, but not both.

You can apply for benefits on your former spouse’s record even if he or she hasn’t retired, as long as you have been divorced at least two years before applying. After you reach full retirement age, you can elect to receive only the divorced spouse benefits and delay benefits on your own record, which may mean a higher monthly amount for you. If you decide to wait until full retirement age to apply as a divorced spouse, your benefit will be equal to half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement or disability benefit amount.

The same rules apply for a deceased former spouse. The amount of benefits you get has no effect on the benefits your ex-spouse or his or her current spouse receives. If your ex-spouse died after you divorced, you can still qualify for widow’s benefits.

Our Benefits Planner gives you an idea of your monthly benefit amount. If your ex-spouse died after you divorced, you can still qualify for widow’s benefits. Visit Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced to find all the eligibility requirements you must meet to apply as a divorced spouse.

We hope this news adds some joy to the range of emotions you feel when thinking of your “Ex”!

 

404 thoughts on “Ex-Spouse Benefits and You

  1. Is the amount still subject to the income limit that my own SS benefit would be subject to if I took it before age 66?

    • I just found out just recently…I am 66…former husband of 30 years…he’s 67….and the amount awarded me was $24.00. …..not very advantageous as they acted like it might be….

      • Is that because you are already receiving retirement or social security benefits? If so, all they are doing is allowing you to keep all of your benefits and giving you a portion of his to say that it’s balancing out. If not, I would appeal because this really sad.

      • I am disabled and my ex (we were married 20 years divorced 16) is retired. Would I be able to collect on his Social Security even though I am collecting disability?

        • Hello Renee. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 or older. However, If you qualify for benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. For additional information and more on eligibility requirements please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced. Thanks!

    • Great question. If you are under your full retirement age, your earnings may reduce your ex-spouse benefit if they are more than the annual earnings limit that applies. Hope this helps!

      • To clarify, if my ex husband tries to collect on my record at age 62 (I am one month younger than he is) and I am still working full-time and earn considerably more than the earnings limit, he may not be able to collect?

        • Barb, if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer and your ex-husband is age 62 or older and unmarried, he can receive benefits based on your record if you are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. If you have not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, your ex-husband can still receive benefits on your record if you have been divorced for at least two years. For further information, please visit our Benefits for Your Divorced Spouse webpage.

        • Hi lanie,we are both the same widow of a usa citizen and never been in US and migrating soon this next month of feb if all things well getting a widows visa.

          you may entitle for widows benifits.If you want to know about my experience i am willing to share for what i get through.My fb Armi L. Lavy

      • If your Husband Died and the wife never remarrieds and its been 16 years but you were only married 6yrs…..Can you draw his SSI’ THANK YOU!

        • Hi Lynn, if you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). A surviving divorced spouse would have to have been married for 10 years or more to collect benefits. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivors benefits. You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office if you need further assistance. Thanks.

      • I don’t think tha should be happening for exes who were DRUG ADDICTS ALL THEIR LIFE AND NIW WANTVTO TAKE THE WORKING PERSONS MONEY!!

    • Im not a legal in this state but my husband was receiving ss and he passed away 4years ago can i get hes benefits or wat do i have to do

      • Thank you for your question, Flor. Noncitizens living in the United States who continue to hold U.S. lawful presence requirements and meet all other eligibility requirements are eligible to receive Social Security benefits. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for more information.

        • Why should non USA citizens received funds that a USA citizen cannot get. I am on disability, divorced and cannot afford a place of my own. I didn’t get my yearly cost of living.
          How can I obtain more financial help so I can get a home of my own. Whom do I contact.

          • Hi Shirley. Individuals receiving disability benefits may also be eligible to receive social services from the state in which they live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, housing or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information. We hope this information helps!

    • If I draw on my divorced husband account – or he on mine – does that decrease the amount either of us would receive?

        • I am confused by this. If I collect on my ex’s social security, and he collects on his social security, that is double the amount paid out. Can this be right?

          • Hi Judy. Workers receive Social Security retirement and disability benefits based on their covered earnings. Members of their families may also qualify for benefits based on those earnings. However, there is a limit to the amount we can pay each family member. Benefits for family members have always been limited by the family maximum rules. The maximum family benefit is the maximum monthly amount that can be paid on a worker’s earnings record.

  2. How can a divorced spouse make an informed filing decision when SS reps refuse to give divorced spouse benefit estimates siting the prvivacy policy as the reason. They are told they must file to find out. Please provide training so that all reps understand every one has a right to know a potential benefit amount payable to them to plan their retirement.

    • Since we need to protect the privacy of all of our beneficiaries, we can only give benefit amount information to the account holder. If you think you might be eligible for a benefit as a divorced spouse, we invite you to apply and receive a formal written answer from us. You can apply online for divorced spouse’s benefits, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local Social Security office. Their information can be found at http://go.usa.gov/bgfV.

      • I am 74 years old, still working
        drawing on my own Social Security. I am asking if I can
        still file against my ex-husbands
        social security. I have not
        remarried, was married 10 years and have been divorced since October of 1994.
        Can you offer guidance?

        • Thanks for your question. To be eligible for divorced spouse’s benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. Here’s some information on how to qualify for divorced spouse benefits. Hope this helps!

          • But how can I know if my benefit is higher if I’m unable to receive information about what my ex-spouse’s benefit is?

          • Can I collect if we were married 20 , have been divorced over 3 years now I am not re married but he is

          • Hi Rosoe. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:
            • You are unmarried;
            • You are age 62 or older;
            • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
            • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
            Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced and read our publication “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information. Thanks!

      • The point that Darlene oldendick was trying to make was that a divorced spouse can’t make an informed decision without being given the information that is needed. It is so arrogant of SSA to just glibly say “File and find out” when once you’ve filed, you’re locked into a possibly (and probably) bad decision for the rest of your life! This decision is much too important for SSA to act as if it is of no consequence. Most people trying to decide whether or not to file on a spouse’s record have also worked for their entire lives and could potentially lose an enormous amount of Social Security income over the years due to SSA’s arrogance in saying “Just file on the ex-spouse’s record and find out”. They then have the audacity to tout the ex-spouse benefit as a wonderful option. Not in my book! Not in my experience! SSA personnel treated me like the scum of the earth for trying to find out my options.

        • Thank you Darlene and Sam! I’m a divorced spouse, 42 year marriage. I was given the same, “file and find out” I was told I could take 37.5% of my ex husbands benefit at age 62 and 50% at 65. But I wasn’t told that figure was permanent, no future benefits. I took the pamphlet literally. It sounded so simple “you can receive a % of his benefits, etc.” I thought his benefits would drop to 62.5%. I was then told I could wait to age 65 and I’d be entitled to 50%. I thought I’d be gouging him even more. If I knew how much he would have left…I totally misunderstood. I’m responsible for not practicing due diligence. It didn’t occur to me that I had to, that there might be a catch-22 in there somewhere. I still believe Social Security is the best program ever. I tell myself I wasn’t stupid, just naive

          My ex husband passed away last year and I got a letter that said I would receive a widow’s benefit of $700. Adding that to my $611, after the medicare deduction, my total SS monthly income is locked in for life at $1229 plus cost of living raises. My son was dumbfounded. He knew that his father’s first check was the limit S.S. pays. I’m glad to know that my ignorance didn’t damage him. I sure did damage myself though. Seventeen years of living on a fraction of what we as a team paid into social security because of one uninformed decision. So I will start the appeal process even though they tell me my chances of winning are slim and none. Maybe inside that behemoth that is Social Security there beats a heart that forgives mistakes. I think an actuarial table would show that even a big adjustment wouldn’t cost much given that I’ll be eighty in June.

          • Id certainly check this out thoroughly…and ask the people at allexperts.com…I think they know more than the social security people you find at the offices…

        • I went into SSI just to inquire about the benefits available to me at 62 (my x of 22yrs is 67) and all I wanted to do is SEE if it made sense to file a claim. Lo and BEHOLD first I got a note I had to send in his birth certificate. I’d decided now that I had the numbers not to file a claim. Next I got a letter, send birth certif or claim denied. OK. I wanted the claim denied cuz I wasn’t really aware they had filed it! NEXT: I get a check in the mail on my earnings! Not what I wanted at all. Complete surprise. Now I have a ONE TIME ability (why 1 time? it wasn’t my mistake) to repay SSI and put in a claim WITH the birth certificate at a later date. What a mess. Every question I asked the guy had to look up the answer and still I got filed completely wrong.

          • Hi Jillian, we apologize if there has been a misunderstanding while you tried to get information about your future benefits. If an application for benefits was processed and you do not want your benefits to begin now, the easiest thing to do is to “withdraw your Social Security claim” and apply at a future date. Yes, you have to repay any benefits you received. Also, keep in mind that there are some things you need to know about what will happen if you withdraw your application. To help you understand the best option for you, we recommend you discuss this with one of our representatives, either at your local office or you can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00a.m. and 7:00p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

        • I was told by SS when applying for my own SS that I could ‘apply’ for my ex’s in a year when he turns 62 but am not required to take it even though I applied. It will only tell me how much I would get from his earnings.

      • I started receiving my ss benefits at age 62, in 2011 because my husband and I separated. I am now 66 years old and he will be 66 in August, 2016. He filed for divorce which was finalized on September 21, 2015. We were married April, 1987. Even though we are divorced, am I entitled to benefits from him? What if he re-marries, will I be entitled?

        • Hi Willie, you could still be eligible for benefits a Divorced Spouse, even if your ex-husband remarries. We associate and pay all benefits that you are eligible for during your initial application process at age 62 (or older). For specific questions about your situation and to report changes and update your benefit records, please contact your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. We hope this helps.

      • my first husband died after 25 years of marriage. I recently remarried but was frauded. I am filing for an annulment. Will I be able to collect my first husbands social security?

          • Thank you so much for your reply. So if I am understanding you, as long as my first marriage was more than 10 years, if I remarry before the age of 60 and then my second marriage ends in divorce or annulment, I can then collect the benefits from my first marriage once I reach 62. Is that correct?

    • Thanks for the opportunity to follow up! Please remember that we are required to protect the privacy of our customers and cannot provide information in detail about someone else’s record.

      It’s our intent to pay all benefits that an individual is eligible for during his or her initial application process at age 62 or later. To get as much information as possible, the most effective way is to file a claim and get an official response. You will not be risking anything. Remember that if you qualify on your own record, we will pay that amount first. But if you also qualify for a higher amount as a divorced spouse, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. . If you currently receive benefits on your own record, you will continue to receive them while we process your claim for divorced spouse’s benefits.

      To get answers to specific questions about your situation, you can call our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

      • Mr. Dickerson:

        In response to your comment that “you will not be risking anything”, by applying for a divorced spousal benefit in order to find out how much of a divorced spousal benefit that one is entitled to, that is simply not true. By applying for the divorced spousal benefit, depending on the age at which the applicant applies, he or she could be subject to the “deemed filing” rule and may permanently reduce his or her Social Security filing options (such as filing only for a divorced spousal benefit at a later time while continuing to accrue Delayed Retirement Credits on his or her own record) going forward. The Social Security Administration needs to provide better and more easily accessible information regarding the amount of a divorced spousal benefit that an applicant is eligible for which suggesting that the applicant needs to apply to find out.

      • If we were married for less than 10 years. We were married for 8 years, going thru a divorce now. I’m the spouse do I apply for any benefits? He said Will give me anything I want?

  3. Unfortunately, while this practice may help some very deserving divorced spouses, it is also a drain when it pays a benefit to someone who does not deserve it. We were married 14 years. He did not work much of that time. I have succeeded in my career for which he will benefit. Social Security should only pay a benefit calculated based on the time we were married, not the success that occurred afterward. I highly doubt he works now – probably living off someone else. No wonder the fund may not be around for those who really deserve to benefit from it.

      • Most women beneficiaries in a similar situation as your ex-husband, who are not freeloaders, but who chose not to work to take care their families, would not agree with you.

        • I agree with you. I choose not to work to take care of our children. We raise our children well and they’re both doing great with their schools. My husband thought I only deserved for 5 years spousal support. To think when we started the marriage, he owed a lot of creditors, no any mean of savings, child support fraud from his ex. no personal properties, and bankruptcy. But I did not give up on him. I stay with him for 30 years. Now I am old and having difficulty finding a job. He thinks I deserve for $100 for spousal benefits for 5 years. 30 years ago, we were lover than dirt. We don’t have a decent vehicle to drive around and lived in a sticky trailer.

    • Amen sister!! Divorced spouses should not be eligible for a divorcees benefits. Something warped about that. Almost as warped as taxing social security, which was a tax deduction from your payroll check. They are taxing a tax.

      • You r absolutely wrong I’ve been married for 19 years I had four kids with him I have chronic Lyme disease I’ll never ever be able to work he’s choosing to leave bc I’m I’ll so you reap what you sow I have to be able to survive too

      • I agree….my husband passed away and not even two days later his ex that he was divorced from for 29 years swooped in to draw. I cannot draw until I am 60 and that is 7 years away and we have a 15 year old daughter I will be raising alone. So we will be struggling due to my diabetes , fibromialgia and anxiety. They had kids but both are married age 41 and 37….I do not qualify for insurance help or food stamps so my attitude is she the ex can draw…even tho she married another man….they got divorced ….made life he’ll and admits its a screw you from the grave….and I have to move in with family to support my kid…..doesn’t make since

        • We are sorry for your loss, Tina. You are right, if you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). Also, children under age 18 (up to age 19 if attending elementary or secondary school full time) of a worker who dies can be eligible to receive Social Security survivor benefits. To see if your daughter may be eligible for benefits, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or contact your local Social Security office directly. Also, you may eligible to receive additional assistance from the state in which you live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office. Please visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information.

    • Your ex spouse deserves it, because you were married to him. That’s part of what marriage means….sharing everything. You knew when you stayed married to him, he deserves 1/2? That’s how it works. This process is only draining to you, because you think the rules are unfair because it hits your current pocket book. 🙂

    • There is nothing ‘automatic’ about it. You have to apply because you must show your identification information; birth certificate; proof of marriage; divorce, etc.

    • Thank you for your question. Yes, you will need to apply for ex-spouse’s benefits. If you are within 3 months of age 62 or older, you can apply online or call our national toll-free service at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you wish to apply in person, you may visit your local Social Security office. Their information can be found at http://go.usa.gov/bgfV. Please go to http://1.usa.gov/1GbVwg8 to find out what documents you may need to provide to us when you apply.

      • My ex-husband will be 62 on February 13, 2016 and has applied for social security disability. He currently gets a veterans 100% disability check every month and hasn’t worked in a few years. We were married in September of 1988 and divorced in May of 2001. I just turned 60 this September and have not remarried. My question is will I be able to collect social security benefits from him as a divorced spouse once he gets social security disability? If not when would I be able to apply for benefits under divorced spouse?

        • Hello Linda, You may be eligible to start receiving benefits on your ex-husband’s record when you are age 62 or older. He can be entitled to either disability or retirement benefits. For additional information and more on eligibility requirements please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

          • Hello I want a better understanding. I began receiving disability and ssi anana small amount. I turned 51 and was eligible to pick up on his cause he passed away. Does that me that at what age and could i be eligible to receive his full retirement?? THANK YOU!!!!

      • Can you explain the part of collecting my own SSC first, then my husbands if his is higher? So I would get two amounts or why not just half of his?

  4. One point that should be made: filing has no effect on the former spouse’s benefit. He or she will get the same amount whether you draw from that account or not.

  5. If my husband dies before I retire, am I able to collect his social security benefits as well, even though I am working and not retired?

    • Thanks for your question. We hope all is well. If your husband were to pass away, you may be eligible for benefits based on his earnings. You can receive unreduced benefits at your full retirement age for survivors or reduced benefits as early as age 60. If you are disabled, you could begin receiving benefits as early as age 50 If you continued to work before reaching your full retirement age and made over the earnings limit, your benefits would be reduced.

      For additional information on Survivors benefits, check out our Survivors Planner at http://go.usa.gov/VW3C.

    • I believe that any time you get retirement or survivor benefits under your full retirement age from any record the Annual Earnings limitation applies.
      There is also a different set of earnings guidelines for disabled widow/survivor benefits

      • If I’m on SSI disability over age 50, shouldn’t I be able to file on ex-husband’s acct, married 14 yrs, divorced in 94?
        So confusing…

        • Thanks for your question, Janet. Widows or surviving divorced spouses who are disabled can receive benefits at age 50. A divorced spouse can collect benefits at age 62. For more information about “Divorced Spouse” benefits, go to the If You Are Divorced page on our web site.

  6. I was married few years short of 20.
    Retired/Remarried for less than 2 years, divorced.
    Collect nothing from second husband however am
    not remarried, nor will I be, Worked and paid into SS
    for many years. How can I apply to receive funds from
    my first husband and father of my only grown children
    as am sure his earnings would pay me more than my own personal earnings. Would also need his SS #. I
    can provide SS his full name and residence in order
    to file a claim.. Thanks for your prompt response.
    LFN

    • Hello. If you now qualify for benefits, you should file an application. If you are insured on your own record, we will pay that benefit amount first. However, if you also qualify for a higher amount as a divorced spouse, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount.

      You do not need your former spouse’s Social Security number as long as you can provide Social Security enough identifying information about him for us to locate his Social Security number. However, you need to show us a marriage certificate and divorce decree along with your proof of birth and U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status and any military service. It may be helpful for you to read our web page, If You Are Divorced . For more information, or to schedule an appointment to file an application, contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you, or you can contact your local office. Their information can be found at http://go.usa.gov/bgfV. We hope this helps!

    • If you ever filed a joint tax return his number as well as yours are on that return. That maybe the easiest way to find his Social Security number.

    • I was married for 20 years.
      Divorced in 1976.
      iam raising our learning disabled daughter
      Am I still entitled to his SS amount after
      all this time?

      • Thanks for your question. To be eligible for divorced spouse’s benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. Here’s some information on
        how to qualify for divorced spouse benefits. Hope this helps!

    • Thanks for your question. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record.

      If you are currently receiving benefits, and if you also qualify for a higher amount as a divorced spouse, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount.

      We collected all of your marriage information when you applied for your benefits, and you are probably already receiving the higher benefit on your own record.

      To make sure, and to find out if you are eligible for a higher benefit and to discuss your options, contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or visit your local Social Security office. To find your local office, please visit http://go.usa.gov/Z4fT. It may be helpful for you to read our web page, If You Are Divorced.

    • I have same question. I started to draw on my earnings at age 62. Now am 67 and would like to apply to receive ex spouse benefits. I meet the criteria. Could you let me know if you were successful in doing this?

  7. I was told after my ex died that I could recieve ss at age 60 on his record as long as we had been married long enough. 20 years in this case. seeing I was having health problems at that age, checked into it. I was also able to collect my pension then. none of it as large as it would have been later but enough. I did that, then when I turned 65 I had to switch to my own which because he had worked so little in those later years was more than his.
    if there are changes since then, this is how mine worked out.

  8. I believe that if you receive social security based on your ex-husband’s social security benefit and if he dies, you will receive an added death benefit in addition to what you receive while he is still living.

  9. I only make about 1200.00 on retired civil service offset. Am I eligible to only receive a third of what my civil service retirement is? Does it make a difference that I was married to someone greater than 10 years and he receives a sizeable amount.

    • Great questions! A pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security, such as the Federal civil service and some State or local government employment, may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced. Your benefit can be reduced based on one of two provisions: the Windfall Elimination Provision, which applies to any benefits you may be eligible for on your own Social Security record, and Government Pension Offset, which applies to any benefits you may be entitled to as a divorced spouse. To learn more, please visit: Information for Government Employees and If You Are Divorced.

      For more clarification on your particular situation, you may contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you, or you can contact your local office. Their information can be found at http://go.usa.gov/bgfV. We hope this helps!

  10. I was married for 27 years to a 100% Disabled Veteran who is 61 and was unemployed for the majority of our marriage. We then divorced 5 years ago. I am now turning 55 and living totally on my Social Security Disability Permanent Income of $900 a month. Will I be eligible for anything at Retirement Age from my Ex-Spouse since he only receives his Service Connected Disability Income which is well over $2000 a month as of now…and not sure if he will ever be eligible for receiving Social security Income due to his unemployment?
    Thank you for helping me with this matter!

    • You can apply for ex-spouse’s benefits once both you and your husband turn 62 years old. We will pay you any benefits you may be due based on his earnings. For complete information on benefits for divorced spouses, please visit our web page, If You Are Divorced.

  11. I am separated from my husband, but still legally married. If he should die, will I be eligible to collect his Social Security since his benefits are much more then mine. I am 72, he is 82 and we are both collecting Social Security Benefits. Many thanks for your prompt response. Thank you.

  12. To all who asks a question here, be sure and keep a written copy of your question and answer. Just for your own records.

  13. Now if you have a child with a person that is 29 years old and you are not married and have live with that person for 30 years, can you still benefit from your domestic partner.

    • Social Security follows state laws. So, check the laws in your state. To get survivors or spouses benefits you generally must live in a state that recognizes common-law marriage. However, most states (even those that do not recognize in-state common-law marriage) will recognize a common-law marriage entered into in another state that does. In your situation, it is best to contact your local field office. To find your local office, check out: http://go.usa.gov/bgfV. Or, you can call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. They will be happy to assist you further.

  14. This is incorrect information. You can’t “also elect to receive only the divorced spouse benefits and delay benefits on your own record until after your full retirement age”. That’s only available to widows and surviving divorced spouses, not those whose former husbands are still alive. Please correct your information.

    • Appreciate your feedback! This is a complex topic, and you’re right, the way we wrote that sentence could be misinterpreted or confusing, so we’ve edited to hopefully make it more clear. Thank you!

      • I have been with my domestic partner over 15 years we do not have children together. Can either of us benefit from ss if something should happen to either of us?

        • Hi, and thanks for your question! Social Security follows the state laws. So, check the laws in your state. To get survivors or spouses benefits, you generally must live in a state that recognizes common-law marriage. However, most states (even those that do not recognize in-state common-law marriage) will recognize a common-law marriage entered into in another state that does. For eligibility information about same-sex relationships, please visit our web page, Same-Sex Couples.

  15. I was married for seven years and had two children. When my husband left, I was the only support of my two children and myself. He refused child support and married a month after our divorce to someone who was married to his “friend.” I did not get any support as was outlined in the divorce agreement, and Family Support was two overwhelmed for years to even look into it. So, I do not agree with the 10 years required. I feel that I deserve something from his social security in these later years. Right now, I am collecting on my own and took it at 62 due to health problems. thanks.

  16. As often is the case, this SSA publication is at best misleadingly written. SSA’s publications for the public are basically “dumbed down” in an attempt to make complex topics easy to understand. Unfortunately, all too often this also means that details get left out that you really must consider (else the facts that are presented will badly lead you astray).

    While I spotted several such important missing details in this publication (because I deal with Social Security issues for a living), the following passage is the worst: “You can also elect to receive only the divorced spouse benefits and delay benefits on your own record until after your full retirement age, which may mean a higher monthly amount for you.” This statement is misleading in that YOU DO NOT HAVE THE OPTION TO RESTRICT “THE SCOPE” OF AN APPLICATION TO JUST THE SPOUSAL OR EX-SPOUSAL BENEFITS UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY REACHED YOUR FULL RETIREMENT AGE (FRA)!

    For those born between 1943 and 1954, FRA is age 66. If you were born after 1954, that age gradually increases to age 67 (under present law). The publication correctly states that spousal benefits become available as early as age 62, but because of the omitted details, it wrongly implies that you also have the option to restrict your application to just the spousal benefits at that age.

    The limitation on restricting the scope of an application only IF you have reached Full Retirement Age (FRA) does not apply to widow’s/widower’s benefits.

    Because of the much younger age at which widows/widowers can restrict their filing to only one benefit type, the option to take one benefit early and the other late (so as to get more) is primarily exercised by widows and widowers.

    That said, the restricted filing options that ARE available to spouses are increasingly becoming popular. However, it is usually only a viable option for those that have sufficient income from other sources, as this allows waiting to file for ANY benefit until FRA.

    Before spouses consider exercising the option to restrict their application to just the spousal benefit, one should seriously consider the implications of any health issues either spouse may have and their relative ages. You must evaluate the likelihood that you and your partner will at least eventually “break even”, especially if one of the choices involves taking a lower benefit initially through the use of a “restricted” application.

    Questions about what this all means”? Call SSA’s Teleservice Representatives at 1-800-772-1213 for answers on most technical issues. However, Social Security agents are not able to give you financial advice. If you ask however, agents can arrange for you to get the age “break-even” points of your various filing options.

    If knowing the age “break-even points” still leaves you questions about what choices are best for you, you should seriously consider getting advice from a “fee-based” financial counselor. You should avoid using “financial counselors” that primarily only make money if they sell you on the financial products they happen to offer. Keep in mind that what they sell may not be (and often is not) the best financial product for you.

    • i get social security
      was married for 20 yrs so i get 200 and something from him. if i get married now will i still get the 200 and something from ex husband

      • Hi Judy! If you’re currently receiving divorced spouse’s benefits, and decide to get married again, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless that (new) marriage ends. Remember that you must contact us to report any changes that can affect your benefits and to update your records. If you have specific questions about your situation, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

  17. divorced after 12 years I am on SSI. I was two credits short of SSD. question can I use my ex wife to get Reg SSD now?

    • If you were married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you are not eligible for a higher Social Security benefit on your own record, you may be eligible for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62. It may also be helpful for you to read our web page, “If You Are Divorced,”. To find out if you are eligible for a higher benefit and to discuss your options, contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or visit your local Social Security office. Please visit us here to find your local office. We hope this helps!

  18. i was married for 20 years now am divorce..never remarried…i dont have the credits to get s.s. ..now am 57 years and i have health problems .do i have to wait till 62 years to get benefits from my ex or can i get them now ..

    • Thanks for your question! If you were married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you are not eligible for a higher benefit on your own record, you may be eligible for benefits on his record at age 62. Here’s some information from our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced section. Hope this helps!

        • Hi Raphael, perhaps you’re talking about Divorced Spouse Benefits. Under current rules, an individual may be eligible for Divorced Spouse Benefits if he or she was legally married to the worker for at least 10 years before the date the divorce became final. if you are currently married, you must be at least 62 years of age and your spouse must be receiving retirement or disability benefits to qualify for spouse’s benefits.

  19. We were married just over 10 years, with a break in the middle. During seminar by a SSA supervisor I was told I would qualify for my ex’s SS$. When I applied the rep denied it. I worked for the federal government and get little in comparison. It’s been 8 years since my benefits started. Can I appeal without having to pay someone?
    Please note there are two questions or concerns here.

    • You can always appeal with SSA without having to pay monies. 8 years is a long time, you might be able to still appeal it from that far back.

    • Thank you for your questions. Generally, if you were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years, you should be able to qualify for benefits on his or her record. In order to collect ex-spouse’s benefits, you must be unmarried and be within three months of age 62 or older. You can appeal any denial, termination or reduction of benefits. You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date you receive our denial letter, and can find additional information here about filing an appeal. If you need further help, you can contact your local Social Security office.

      • are people doing this due to lack of employment information and thus no wage reporting on their own record? is it being used as a reference or basis for calculating a higher benefit amount?

  20. Search this website and ye will find. A lot of questions I read here are answered just by a little research on SSA’s website. A good publication I recommend is “What Every Woman Should Know” Now fellas don’t let the title fool you because it also applies to men as well.

  21. How do the Social Security benefits apply if there are two women, an ex-wife and a widow (I am the widow)? My husband and I were married when my husband passed away, yet he was previously married for several years and his former wife is unmarried.

  22. I WAS MARRIED FOR 32 YEARS NAD HE DIVORCED ME JUST BECAUSE I STILL DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT HAPPENED IN 1999 AND I NEED MONEY BECAUSE OF THIS HE WILL NOT TELL ME WHY BUT I HAVE TO RENY OUT A ROOM IN MY HOME AND ALL THE BILLS LIGHTS WATER GAS JUST GO UP I HAVE SOLD MY CAR AND IT IS JUST SAD PLEASE CHECK THIS OUT AND LET ME KNOW THANK YOU
    CHERYL DAVIS

  23. Was married more than 12 years and divorced 3 years. Can I use my ex wife for my social security disability?

    • Thanks for your question, Thomas. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. Here’s some information on how to qualify under our If You Are Divorced section of our web site. Hope this helps!

  24. Just to be clear:

    I am currently married (13 years). He was previously married (13 years); she then got remarried, but recently just got divorced (after 6 years).

    Does that mean that both she and I would qualify for Social Security benefits should anything happen to my husband?

  25. There must be phone numbers provided along with area codes and human must answers not recorded messaging system during normal office hours.

    I had to leave US soil during economic crisis in America With zero balance. Now I am collecting SS benefits and also have applied for divorced spouse benefits which was very hard to convince Manila office
    finally called Baltimore office someone help me out and sent messages on my behalf after checking all eligibility. Application is under process waiting for favorable reply but no easy access of communication and emails goes unanswered!

    I currently live in India and upon receiving combined benefits I might be able to resettle in America.

    Thank you

  26. We are hetrosexual partners which we have been together 16 years we registered as domestic partners but do we still have to get married to be entitled to each others social security when one of us pass away? Thank you

    • Katy, Social Security follows the state laws on marriage and domestic partnerships, so please check the laws in your state. To get survivors or spouses benefits you generally must live in a state that recognizes common-law marriage. However, most states (even those that do not recognize in-state common-law marriage) will recognize a common-law marriage entered into in another state.

  27. If a person is already receiving their own benefits from early election at 62, plus an added spousal benefit, then they divorce later on and the divorce spouse is receiving full benefit, can they still claim 1/2 of the divorced spouse’s benefits?

    • Thanks for your question. To be eligible for a divorced spouse’s benefit, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. Here is some helpful information on how to qualify for divorced spouse’s benefits. We hope this helps.

  28. I am 64 years old and receiving disability. My ex-husband is 5 years older than I am and is retired. How do I determine if it is more advantageous for me to remain on disability or apply for his retirement benefits . . . or could the two payments combined in some way?

    • Thanks for your question, Elise. If you are receiving benefits based on your own record, we will pay that amount first. However, if you also qualify for a higher amount as a divorced spouse, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. It may be helpful for you to visit our “If You Are Divorced” web page. To find out how much you are eligible for on each record and to discuss your options, contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or visit your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  29. I was married to my ex husband for over twenty years. He is now retired. I am 73 will be 74 next month and am receiving social security will I be able to collect the difference of his social security? I was told originally he would have to be deceased.

    • Thank you for your question. If you were married for more than twenty years, you should already be receiving “Divorced Spouse’s” benefits based on your ex-husband’s earnings. We associate and pay all benefits that you are eligible for during your initial application process at age 62 or later.
      You are also likely to qualify for “Survivors” benefits if your ex-spouse passes away. Survivors benefits are paid at a higher rate.
      To be sure about the benefits you are receiving, or if you have specific questions, you can call our toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Hope this helps!

  30. Divorced after 24 yr. of marriage. My husband is 100% disabled vet. I’m 74 and he will be 74 this month. Disabled vet.sence 2001 and on ssi as 1998. I retired with 25 yrs. and he with 29 years. (Worked at same factory). His ssi is about 900.00 more than mine. Plus he get disable vet. Ck. and Retirement. Pension. Could I recieved the different in our income from s/s….??? Thanks

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  32. sometimes I think not I’m schizophrenic bipolar manic depressivecompulsive disorder. I feel like people hate to hear me talk.I hear things different than they do I don’t hurt anyone just myself not physically just emotionally I have issues with God. But i do pray i”m saved

  33. I was married for 13yrs to my ex-husband he was in the service and retired 20yrs, can I claim his military S.S.

  34. How many ex-spouses (who qualify by age and length of marriage) can receive the spousal benefit? Example: I have a friend who has been married 3 times – all over ten years. Divorced from two of them. Are each of these spouses eligible for spousal benefits?

  35. I am divorced and my ex-spouse passed away 2 years ago. We were married for 20 year, she was collecting disability when she passed away at age 57. I am 58. Will I qualify for survivor benefits in 2 years at age 60? WiIl this amount be greatly reduced if I continue to work until full retirement age? Thanks for any insight.

    • Thanks for your question, Randy. Yes, you will be eligible for reduced survivor’s benefits when you reach age 60 (age 50 or older if disabled). You may be able to begin receiving your survivor benefit at a reduced rate and then, at your full retirement age, switch to your own retirement benefit at an unreduced rate. For more information, check out our Survivors Planner. Also, when you apply for benefits, you will need to let us know if you plan to continue to work, as there are limits on how much survivors may earn while they receive benefits — see our Getting Benefits While Working web page.

  36. If a woman were married 7 1/2 years, then divorced, a week later went back together and lived in Colorado a common law state, planned to remarry but lived common law another 7 yrs 9 mos before marrying again for 1 year 7 months, can she qualify for his Social Security? Can the marriage years and common law marriage years be combined?

    • Thank you for your question, Sharon. Unfortunately, your situation is a bit more complex than we can answer in this blog forum. We recommend you contact your local field office. Or, you can call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

  37. I married my ex back in 2000 abroad, and I divorced him in 2014. I have a divorce my divorce papers in which it is mentioned the date and the year we got married, I can not remember having a marriage certificate little to be in English language. Am I eligible to apply?

    • Thank you for your question, Heidi. You’ll need to provide us with proof that your marriage lasted 10 years or longer. If your divorce decree shows the beginning and ending dates of marriage, you may be able to use it. All documents you submit must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of the documents. For more information about divorced spouse benefits, and to apply online, visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

  38. While I was still married, but separated, I began collecting my own SS benefits at age 62. I am now 64 and have been divorced for more than 2 years and my ex will soon be 63. We were married for over 30 years. I understand I can reapply for SS benefits under something called Independently titled divorced spouse. Can you direct me as to how I go about doing this? Is it best to wait unitl I am 65? Thanks so much

  39. I was married for 11 years, and will be 64 this year. I am currently working. Is it better to start claiming my ex-spouse’s social security now, invest that amount, and delay my benefits until I am 70 or is it better to claim my ex-spouses social security when I turn 66 and delay my benefits when I turn 70?

    Thanks!

    • You can’t file a restricted claim until your full retirement age, so if you file now you will get the larger of yours or your ex’s, but there will be no delayed credits.

  40. I know that, at FRA, a divorced spouse can claim the spousal benefit while letting their own benefit continue to grow until age 70. Does it work the opposite way? Can I apply at FRA and restrict it to my own benefit, while letting my spousal benefit grow until age 70, then switch to the spousal benefit?
    Thank you!

    • Yes! However, if you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will generally pay that amount first. If you also qualify for a higher amount as a divorced spouse, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. If you are eligible for benefits on your own record as well as on your ex-spouse’s record, you may have options when it comes to choosing when to claim each one. To find out how much you are eligible for on each record and to discuss your options, contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., or visit your local Social Security office.

  41. My mother and father are currently going through a divorce. My father is 62, mother is 61. The divorce will be finalized in October just as my mother turns 62. My mother has never worked because she stayed at home to raise 4 children. Will she still be entitled to half of my fathers social security even though she has never worked herself? If so, will she be able to file at age 62 or will she have to wait for my father to file?

    • Thanks for your question, Cate. Even if your mother has never worked under Social Security, she still may be able to get divorced spouse’s benefits. In order for your mother to be eligible to receive divorced spouse’s benefits on your father’s record, she must be unmarried, age 62 or older, and your parents must have been married for at least 10 years. If your father has not applied for retirement benefits but can qualify for them, your mother can receive benefits on his record once they have been divorced for at least two years. We hope this information helps.

  42. Not sure if you are still responding to this feed but If you are I have a question.
    I left my husband 27 years ago at a time neither one of us had any money to get a divorce. He met someone else, told me he got an “uncontested divorce by publication” and remarried in another state. I never saw him again. I have tried to find any trail of what he said he did with this uncontested divorce, and it does not appear that he did what he said he did, and we are still married.
    Now I am financially able to get a divorce which I will go to a lawyer about shortly, I still have no idea where my husband is.
    My question is about social security. Will I be able to draw my FULL benefits when I reach retirement age in 10 years? I’m not even sure what will happen with the divorce, if it will have to be “by publication” because I can not find him. I have heard by getting divorced this way it does not resolve financial matters, So it worries me that something may happen with regards to my social security. I have worked my entire life, and I doubt my husband has changed and probably has not worked and has free loaded from this other wife.

    Thanks

    • Lisa, the amount of your Social Security benefit will depends on the amount of your average lifetime earnings. We establish and pay your benefit amount first, then we pay benefits to other family members who may qualify on your record. If you have a divorced spouse who qualifies for benefits, it will not affect the amount of benefits you may receive. You can use our Online Retirement Estimator to get estimates on your future retirement benefits. You can also create a my Social Security account to review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; your earnings record; and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.

  43. If I was married for less than 10 years, then divorced my spouse, but cared for his children, then he died, and the children were both under 16 at the time of his death (and I still cared for them alone), I understand that I was probably eligible for SS benefits. I did not apply at that time however, not knowing that I was eligible. Both of the children did apply and got dependent survivor benefits till they were 18. Can I now apply for survivor benefits since I cared for the under-16 children? Or do I not have any rights to ‘divorce spouse’ survivor benefits because I was not married for 10 years, even though I cared for his children for their entire lives. Thank you.

    • Why is it no one answered Jan’s question. My situation is almost identical to hers. I struggled for years as the sole support for our children. My ex never provided one penny of support. Eventually my son received social security based on my father’s earnings and was able to help pay some of the bills but he passed away suddenly and without the small amount he was able to contribute, I am in worse shape than I was when they were children.

  44. Hi,
    I was married 39 years
    I have been divorced for 15 months.
    He is 60 and I am 63. Since we lived abroad he has paid in full his retirement credits of 40. I only have 24 credits. I understand the requirements are: you can file for benefits 2 years after divorce, you have to have been married for at least 10 years. My question is do I have to wait til he is 62 to file for my benefits which would be two years from now?
    Thank you for your help.

    • You are right on both counts Monique, and yes, your ex-husband would have to be of retirement age (62 or older) for you to apply and receive Divorced Spouse benefits on his record.

  45. My ex wife receives about $1,400 for disability benefits. We were married for about 15 years. We have been divorced for 5 years. She is 62 years old. I will be 65 this year. I worked for about 14 years in private industry, since then, teacher. If I retire with a teacher’s retirement…can I get the same amount as her from social security? I am confused about the “Windfall Teacher Retirement” rip off. If I worked for 14 years plus summers for 20 years, why can’t I get full SS benefits?
    Frustrated with system.

    • Hi John, A pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies, such as police officers and some teachers) may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced. Your benefits can be reduced based on one of two provisions. Your own Social Security benefit can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision. If you are divorced and qualify for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, your benefits may be affected by Government Pension Offset.
      If you are not already getting retirement benefits, you should contact us about three months before your 65th birthday to see if you qualify for Medicare

  46. I am trying to help my mom make the best retirement decision. She has cancer but was rejected for disability but is still unable to work. Therefore we are looking into the non-disability route.

    She was married to my dad for over ten years and he is already receiving social security. My mom is 60 (born 1954) and has her own work history but my dad definitely did earn more throughout their marriage. Is it possible for my mom to apply for spousal benefits through my father’s work history at age 62 and then switch to her own benefits at age 70? I have read a lot about the divorced spouse filing for spousal benefits at 66 (FRA) and then their own benefits at 70. However, my question is specifically regarding whether if she filed at age 62 (with the 30% reduction) for the spousal benefits would that then reduce her own work history benefits by 30% at age 70. Thanks!

    • Thank you for your questions. If your mom was recently denied disability benefits, and if she does not agree with our decision, see how to “Appeal A Decision” and help her file an appeal online. She must request an appeal within 60 days from the date she received the denial notice.

      In regards to her Retirement or Divorced Spouse benefits, keep in mind that if your mom qualifies on her own record, we pay that amount first. But if she also qualifies for a higher amount on your father’s record, she’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. The option to apply on her ex-husband’s records and then switch to her own is only available if she waits to apply and receive benefits at age 66 or her full retirement age. We hope this helps!

  47. https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300202005
    Many people do not understand the rule regarding a remarriage of the same individual, that can allow the two unions to be combined to total the necessary 10 years. And, SSA and other references do not incorporate this information in the commentaries that they provide. If would be helpful for someone in the SSA to explain this topic, too.

    “A divorced spouse must:
    •be finally divorced from the NH; and
    •have been married (as defined in RS 00202.001A.1.) to him or her for a period of at least 10 years (for benefits prior to 1/79, the requirement was 20 years) immediately before the date the divorce became final. For benefits payable prior to 1/1/91, the 10-year duration must be based on a legal or putative marriage. However, after 12/31/90, credit can be given for a deemed marriage towards the 10-year period.
    “This requirement is met if the divorce became final on or after the 10th anniversary of the marriage. This is so even if this period was interrupted by a prior divorce, provided the remarriage took place no later than the calendar year immediately following the calendar year of the divorce. Even when this requirement was not met with respect to the claimant’s last divorce, she or he may qualify based on a 10-year period of marriage immediately before a prior divorce.
    “EXAMPLE: Robert, who married Lois on 5/6/80, was divorced 5/2/86. On 7/7/87, they remarried but were again divorced 9/5/90. The 10-year requirement is met. However, if Robert and Lois had remarried in 1988 instead of 1987 and were divorced again on 9/5/90, the 10-year requirement could not be met. The marriage must be in existence in each of the 10 years before the final divorce in order for the claimant to be entitled.”

  48. I started collecting Disability about 10 Years ago. I am 66 now. My Ex wife collects Disability, She was a nurse for 30 years. I only get 976.00 per Month, She Gets the full amount. Could I collect off of Her’s? We are friends and as long as it doesn’t interfere what she is getting I’m interested in finding out.

    • Good for you Frank and a great question. To be eligible for divorced spouse’s benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. The maximum benefit you can receive as a Divorced Spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-wife’s disability benefit amount, and it does not affect her benefits at all. Hope this helps!

  49. My friend put together my small business website in dreamweaver for me. However, I now want to maintain it myself—my friend recommended putting it into wordpress. However, I am not a web designer and have no idea what I’m doing—is there an easy way to convert my current website from dreamweaver to wordpress (for someone who can’t read code, etc). . Thanks!.
    opticien skikda algerie http://tinyurl.com/f8c283d0cf52b603899a9fba7fb27ad4

  50. I was married to my first wife for 14 years, we divorced and I re-married 5 years later and have been married for 18 years. I and my current wife are both retired. I and my wife we both draw on our soc sec along with a pension. If I die, which wife gets my soc security ?

    • Hello Kell, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • You are age 62 or older;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would
      receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them (which includes he is at least age 62), you can receive benefits on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years. For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

  51. I’m 66, eligible for ex-spouse benefits (deferring on my own benefit until later) passed all the tests: 22 years marriage, divorced for 10 years, his benefits at retirement are greater than mine and I have provided the local office with Marriage and Divorce documents.

    Two questions:

    1.The local office is asking my ex-husband to provide his original Birth Certificate. The request came from one of the agents on the phone, the day after the appointment.
    This is a surprise, the SSA has all his personal information and earnings. I cannot find any mention of this requirement anywhere on SSA website.
    My ex-husband refuses to cooperate.

    2. My ex-husband is younger than me. I was told, i cannot withdraw the 50% of his benefit, or any of his benefit until he reaches the age of 62. Is that correct? there is no mention of this on the SSA site either. The SSA requirement is for the requesting spouse (me) to be at least 62 years old.

    • Thank you for your questions, Rita. As our Divorced Spouse web page explains it: “If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years.” He would have to be of retirement age (62 or older) to “qualify” for his benefits.
      Generally, if we’ve found a discrepancy in regards to his date of birth, then we need to correct it. Proof of age is required, when age (62) is a factor in determining retirement or dependent’s benefits. The primary proof of age when applying for retirement benefits is the original copy of his birth certificate. Please continue working with our agents, as they may be able to assist you further in preparation to file for your benefits.

  52. as of now i am recieveing widows benefits i was wondering if this state also will pay me retirement pay along with my other benefits.

    • Hi Ms. Morgan! If you’re referring to a state or local government pension, please contact your State Retirement Administrator.

  53. I have a ex-wife who has been married over 15 years to another man. They are seperated now but he worked in cthe constructtion trade as a contractor. I was married to her ten tyears. Will, if she chooses to,be allowed to draw on my social Security?

  54. My wife is on a permanent resident 10 year green card. She is from Mexico. I am presently 64 years old. When my wife reaches 62 years old she will have been on a green card for 12 years. She will not have enough credits (points) to draw any social security at age 62. My question is as follows. Can she receive 50% of my social security when she reaches 62 and she is on a permanent resident spousal green card? Some one told me if she is not a citizen she can not receive 50% of my benefits at 62 years old while I am living.

    • False. Have her apply and do not let others dissuade- it won’t be 50% of your full retirement amount because she has the option to wait until she’s 66; she’d be choosing to draw early at 62.

  55. I applied for spousal benefits off of my ex husband. He is deceased now. The SS office told me that I need to get a copy of my divorce papers and marriage licenses. I did get the copy of the marriage licenses but when I went to get the divorce papers the county has no records of my divorce. They think it was never filed. Like I said my ex is deceased. I have no way to track what happened. We were not speaking at the time we divorced and I never got a copy of the papers. Now social security tells me I cannot get his social security until I produce divorce papers. What do I do?

    • Hello Ms. Simpson, you must provide the documents required to prove that you meet all the requirements necessary to be entitled to the benefit you are claiming. As a Surviving Divorced Spouse, you must provide proof that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. In this case a marriage certificate and a divorce decree is needed to show the length of the marriage.
      We do not have access to personal records in this blog and in your case, is best to continue working with the Social Security office handling the claim, they can advise you as to what other alternatives or other types of evidence you need to submit. Thanks!

  56. I will be 67 in December, living on Social Security. My ex-husband (married to him 16 years/divorced about 30 years) has remarried, lives in Texas. I am positive he made far more money than I did in his work years and I believe he is retired now. Must I wait till he passes away to receive benefits from his Social Security?
    Thank you

    • Thank you for your question Constance. You may be eligible to receive Divorced Spouse benefits on your ex-spouse’s record now, if you meet all the factors of eligibility, even if he has remarried. If you are receiving benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. However, if the benefit on his record is a higher amount, you will get a combination of benefits that equals a higher amount. For questions and to check if you qualify for additional benefits contact your local office, or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

  57. Question:
    If I married abroad over 36 years ago and have been separated from that spouse for over 30 years – is that person considered my legal spouse in the United States? (Marriage did not place in the US and we never formalized/recognized it in the US) Also, In the past 20 years I was in a common law marriage but currently no longer in it. What does the government consider my marriage status to be? Could you help me with that? I want to file as Single, but want to make sure.

  58. I am about to divorce my husband for the second time.First time we were married for 10yrs.We stayed divorced for 13 months and then remarried.Our second marriage lasted 12 yrs
    My question is can I get his SS pension if he dies(if he marries again or not) and if I get to retirement age and he is still alive do I get any of his SS benefits?

    • Thank you for your question Apr. If you meet all the factors of eligibility, you could be eligible to receive Divorced Spouse benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, even if he has remarried. You may also qualify as a Surviving Divorced Spouse.
      If you qualify to receive benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. However, if the benefit on his record is a higher amount, you will get a combination of benefits that equals a higher amount.
      If you have additional questions, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday but you will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

  59. Can you answer this? If I’m already receiving spousal Social Security benefits (I filed restricted at my Full Retirement Age), can I file for retroactive pay and get the difference of 6 months worth of my own benefits and the spousal benefit. I am now 68 and want to know if I can file retroactively at 67 1/2 on my own work record?

    • Hi Angie and thank you for your question. For retirement benefits, we generally allow up to six months of retroactivity payments. No retroactive benefits are payable for any month before individuals reach their full retirement age.
      Sometimes, a person may be entitled to more than one benefit at the same time and may receive a combination of benefits equaling a higher amount. For example, a person may be entitled as a retired worker on his/her own record and as a spouse on another record. However, a person’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest single benefit amount to which that person is entitled. Also, in your case, there are Delayed Retirement Credits issues to consider.
      Unfortunately, but for your security, we do not have access to personal information in this blog. In your situation, it is best to contact your local office or to call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you.

  60. I have lived on S.S.I. for many years. I was married for 10yrs. He remarried and his wife died many years later. It is now 2015. I would like to know: If he is on S.S. disability will I, being on S.S.I. benefits, be able to receive his S.S. benefits, what percentage and what percentage at 62? What is the actual age of full benefits and what %?

    • Hi Linda! If you meet all other factors of eligibility and your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive Divorced Spouse benefits on your ex-spouse’s record even if he remarried. Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s disability benefit amount, only if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. However, if you are receiving Supplemental Security Income or SSI benefits, you are required to file for benefits under his record as soon as you become eligible at age 62. Remember that your SSI benefit is also based on the income you receive, we will be able to tell you the exact amount of your total benefit amount when you apply. We hope this information helps!

  61. I am 51 years old and I was married for over 20 years. And during that time I was a housewife and raising our children. After our divorce I never remarried and neither will I be going to. After the divorce I moved to Germany and currently I am working (have been for 10 years) and paying into the German retirement system. Nevertheless my salary is very small. That is why I should be drawing benefits from my ex husband since he has always earned much more money. Is it correct that I will receive approx. 50% when applying for benefits at age 67 and around 35% when applying with 62 years? When I apply for benefits on behalf of my husband’s SSN number do they consider my benefits which I will be receiving in Germany as well, which is a very small amount? Would I be getting benefits only for the years I was married or until my ex-husband will apply for social security benefits himself? How will I know when my ex husband will apply for benefits with 62 or 67? Does that even matter? How do I find out how much benefits I can draw from his account? And last but not least how do I apply for getting my SSN statement online? The system asks for an American address, which I do not have. I desperately need advise on this complicated matter.

    • Way to go Andrea, you are beginning to plan ahead of time, and that’s great! You may be eligible for Divorced Spouse benefits at age 62, and your ex-husband does not have to be receiving benefits but must be of retirement age (62) and qualify for retirement benefits. Yes, your benefit as a divorced spouse would be equal to one-half or 50% of your ex-husband’s full retirement benefit amount -only- if you wait to apply for benefits at your full retirement age.
      The indication is that you only worked in Germany and may qualify for benefits on your own record under that country’s retirement program. If you qualify for Social Security benefits from both the United States and Germany, the amount of your U.S. benefit may be affected. Also, persons who are not U.S. citizens may receive U.S. Social Security benefits while outside the U.S. only if they meet certain requirements. If you are a U.S. or German citizen, who is eligible for dependents or survivors benefits, you may receive benefits as long as you reside in Germany. We recommend you read the full content of the “Totalization Agreement with Germany” for complete information about your situation.
      Also, in order to create a “my Social Security” account, our authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address. In your case, you can print a “Request for Social Security Statement” and mail it to the address provided in the form. You can also contact the local U.S. embassy or consulate for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. We hope this information helps!

  62. Can my husband’s first wife claim his Social Security benefits instead of me as his current widow? They were married over 10 years, but so were we; in fact, we were married for a much longer time. They were married when they were in their late 20s and divorced in their late 30s. We have been married since our late 40s, so

    • Thank you for your question Joellyn. Both of you can receive benefits under your deceased husband’s record. A divorced spouse of a worker who dies, could get benefits jut the same as a widow, provided that their marriage lasted 10 years or more. The benefit amount paid to a widow and to a surviving divorced spouse does not affect their benefit rates or that of any other survivors that can receive benefits on the worker’s record.
      You may qualify for Widow’s Benefits at age 60 (50 if you are disabled under our rules). If you need more information or to apply contact our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  63. Hello-
    I am on SS disability and my ex husband is 58. Am I eligible “after 50” (I’m 52 now) to apply under his benefits?? Or do I have to wait until he is 62??

    • Thank you for your question Kristi. Generally, If You Are Divorced, and your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you could receive benefits under your ex-husband’s record when you reach age 62. He would also have to be of retirement age (at least 62), and you must have been divorced for at least two years. We must pay you benefits on your own record first, but if you qualify for a higher benefit amount on his record, then you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount.
      Only a widow or the divorced spouse of a worker who dies, could get benefits at age 60 or at age 50 if she is disabled under our rules, provided that the marriage lasted 10 years or more. We hope this information helps !

  64. Hi.
    I became disabled at age 45 while I was married. We divorced after over 25 years. I remarried. I read somewhere that if I was disabled at under age 50 I could receive my ex-husband’s SS benefits even though I had remarried. I’ve read that it could be if he was dead or just when he reached retirement age. I’ve called SS and have gotten all sorts of answers. Do you have any idea???
    Thanks,
    Robin

  65. I was told that I could collect a portion of my current husband’s social security when I turned 62. Both of us were divorced and married over 10 years each the first time. He is 10 years older than I am and has been on full social security for over 5 years. Is it possible for me to collect from him once I turn 62 and continue to work until I’m 66?

  66. I am a surviving divorced spouse (married 17 years and not remarried), and will be 66 in February, 2016. My ex died at age 61 and 7 months, and was not receiving social security benefits. When I am 66 his age would be 63 yrs and 7 months.
    Once I turn 66, am I eligible to collect any social security benefits on his credits, since he was not 62 when he died? If I am eligible, what % am I eligible for?

  67. I lived with my ex in Conn. for 9 yrs.{Oct/86} Had 2 children {born 87 & 91} and pregnant with third {born in 95} when married {8/94} and divorced {7/98} but we still lived together until 2000. Would I possibly be able to collect any type of soc. sec. benefits from him.

    • Marie, your question is more complex than we can address in this forum. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and speak to one of our representatives, he or she will be able to answer your questions. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  68. 25 year marriage ends in divorce. I know a ex-wife (within parameters) can get SS based on her ex-husbands paid in Social Security–even though she was a housewife and never paid in herself–as has been discussed in this article. But what about SSDI? If I know have a permanent disability–Can I apply for SSDI based on my husband’s SS record? Also, does receiving a small amount of alimony effect this?

  69. Typo Correction:
    25 year marriage ends in divorce. I know a ex-wife (within parameters) can get SS based on her ex-husbands paid in Social Security–even though she was a housewife and never paid in herself–as has been discussed in this article. But what about SSDI? If I NOW have a permanent disability–Can I apply for SSDI based on my husband’s SS record? Also, does receiving a small amount of alimony effect this?

  70. I am 59, my ex-husband is 69. We were married for 20 years and have been divorced for 12 years. Even though I am not yet eligible myself for Social Security, can he file to receive 50% of my social security? He is receiving his own SS, but 50% of mine would be higher than his full amount. Thank you.

    • We are sorry to hear about your friend’s loss, Linda, it’s nice of you to help him out in these difficult times. First of all, Social Security should be notified as soon as possible when a person dies. In most cases, the funeral director will report the person’s death to Social Security.
      Generally, your friend may be eligible to apply for widower’s benefits at age 60 (age 50 or over if he is disabled). If he is also eligible for retirement benefits (but hasn’t applied yet), he has an additional option. He can apply for retirement or survivors benefits now and switch to the other (higher) benefit at a later date. If he is already receiving retirement benefits, he can only apply for benefits as a widower if the retirement benefit he is receiving is less than the benefits he would receive as a survivor.
      For more information, please go to our Survivors Planner page and read our publication: How Social Security Can Help – When A Family Member Dies. Your friend can call us at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or contact the local office directly. We hope this information helps.

  71. I am 62 and my divorced ex is 61. Married more than ten years. Divorced more than two. Not remarried.
    Can I file and start receiving on my record now and then file for additional benefits on his record when he turns 62?

    • Great question Jo. Yes! You can apply for your benefits now and then later, see if you qualify for a higher benefit as a Divorced Spouse. You are correct, your ex-spouse must be at least age 62. In the meantime you can complete the online application for your Social Security Retirement benefits in as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy, you can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you. Congratulations !

  72. How can the Social Security worker require me to obtain my ex-husband’s birth certificate? Under the laws of the state in which he was born, an ex-spouse is not eligible to order a certified copy of her ex-husband’s birth certificate.

    Why can’t Social Security depend on their own records as proof of my ex-husband’s age? I have provided my divorce decree and my marriage decree to prove that I was married for over 10 years, yet I am being told that my claim for ex-spouse benefits will not be processed until I can provide a certified copy of my ex-husband’s birth certificate.

    My ex-husband is not helping, he will not comply with social security’s request to verify his age over the phone. I thought that my claim for ex-spouse benefits was supposed to be a private affair between me and Social Security anyway. Why is Social Security involving my ex-husband anyway?

    There must be some other way for Social Security to prove my ex-husband’s age???????????????

    • Proof of age is required, when age (62) is a factor in determining retirement or dependent’s benefits. Generally, when we find a discrepancy in regards to date of birth, then we need to correct it. As our Divorced Spouse web page explains it: “If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can “qualify” for them, you can receive benefits on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years.” In order to pay you benefits under his record, he would have to be of retirement age (62 or older) to “qualify” for benefits.
      The primary proof of age is the original copy of his birth certificate. Please continue working with our agents, as they may be able to assist you further in preparation to file for your benefits.

  73. My second husband just passed away and my first husband is also deceased. I wanted to compare each of their SS benefits as I understand I’m qualified to receive the greater of the two. The SSA has no record of my first husband even though he collected SS benefits prior to his death. He’s been deceased for 20 years so there are no recent records (bank/employment) to refer to. How can I find out what his benefits would be if no records exist?

  74. Can you clarify the following: Spouse A and Spouse B are married for 25 years and then divorce. Spouse A participated in and will have social security retirement. Spouse B worked in a government pension system and did not participate in and is not entitled to social security on her own record. Is she still entitled to social security (with the GPO) on Spouse A’s record? Thank you.

  75. Hi, I am 59 and getting a divorce, married 29 years. Can I draw my social security at 62 and switch over to my ex husbands at my full retirement age? His social security is higher than mine. My husband is only 56 at this time. Thank you.

  76. I was married for 40 years when divorced in 2010. I began collecting my social security at age 62, but it is limited due to a governmental retirement, When I looked into applying for divorced spousal benefits I was told my ex-husband’s earnings were not high enough for me to be eligible. I remarried after the age of 64 and read that I might be eligible for spousal benefits from my second husband when I turn 66 in January 2016, His earnings were much higher than my ex-husbands. Is this information correct?

    • Thank you for your question Mary. Generally, at age 62 or older, you must be married for one year before you can get spouse’s benefits on your current husband’s record. However, a pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies) may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced.
      Your benefits can be reduced based on one of two provisions. Your own Social Security benefit can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision. Your spouse’s, divorced spouse’s, surviving divorced spouse’s or widow’s benefits under Social Security may be affected by the Government Pension Offset. For more information, go to our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page.

    • Hello Adam, a divorced spouse may be able to receive benefits on his or her ex-spouse’s record even if the ex-spouse is working, as long as they have been divorced for at least two years, and the ex-spouse is of retirement age (at least age 62) and qualifies for Social Security benefits. To see additional eligibility requirements and for more information in this subject visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

  77. I am single and was married for 31 years. I have been working as a teacher for 16 years and paying into the pension system. I see on the SS website that I am entitled to some social security based on my work record before becoming a teacher, but, of course, it will be reduced because of the windfall law. My question is: Can I collect my ex-husband’s social security when I retire, even if I am entitled to a pension? If so, how much will it be reduced?

    • Good question, Carolyn. A pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies, such as police officers and some teachers) may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced. Your benefits can be reduced based on one of two provisions. Your own Social Security benefit can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision. If you are divorced and qualify for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, your benefits may be affected by the Government Pension Offset.

  78. I started taking my social security benefit at age 62. I am now 75 years old. I was married two times, both more than 10 years and I am now divorced from my second husband. My first husband passed away 3 years ago. Can I claim benefits as a surviving spouse on his account?

    My second spouse is still alive an over 67 years old. He is now claiming his benefit and I am wondering if I have the right to claim on his benefit?

    If I were entitled to one or both of this spousal benefits, once I decide on one, can I change at a later date once the second spouse dies?

    Please help as I think I have been receiving less than what is authorized under social security regulations.

  79. Hi,

    Can my ex spouse who is older and already filed and receiving his own SS now receive a portion of my SS (that will be more than his current smaller benefit). Can he file for mine after he has already filed for his?

    Thanks!

  80. What happens in a situation where you have an ex-wife (married for 10 year and children) and a current wife (married for 39 years and children), the husband dies (he is 74). Who is entitled to his ss check?

  81. If a service member who started their retirement plan about 5-6 years prior to marrying and was married for about 6 years (this would be 12 years into his service at the time of divorce) is the soon to be ex wife entitled to any of the retirement/pension benefits if the service member divorced her for committing adultery.

    • If you are referring to Social Security benefits, in addition to meeting other factors of eligibility, to qualify for and to receive Divorced Spouse benefits, the marriage must have lasted 10 years or longer.

    • Hi Nancy, we apologize if we missed your initial question. Unfortunately, your questions are a bit more complex than we can handle in this blog. In your situation, it will be best to speak with one of our representatives. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit your local Social Security office.

  82. My former sister in law was married to my brother for 22 yrs in AZ. They divorced and she moved in with a man who she has lived with over 11 yrs in OR. She never married him in order to continue to receive alimony. My brother has recently passed away and I was wondering if there is any way to prevent her from collecting his social security benefits?

  83. What if I file for divorce before 8.5 years, but the process takes so long that until the divorce was final it is 10 years. Does that mean he gets it too?
    Can I protest this?
    What about my new husband? Does that mean he gets nothing?

  84. Also, does my ex collecting under my name, does that mean I will get less?
    He has only worked under the table since we have divorced so I don’t think he will have any amount in his account.
    Plus I don’t think it is fair when your ex abuser can still profit off of you- even after divorce. There has to be a way to STOp this

    • Hello Mishell. Your ex-husband may be eligible for Divorced Spouse’s Benefits, if you two were legally married for 10 years or longer. Your current husband also may be eligible for Spouse’s Benefits. The amount of benefits payable to your divorced spouse has no effect on the amount of benefits you or your current spouse may receive. We hope this information helps answering your questions.

  85. My estimated SS at 62 on my own record is about $700 less than my soon to be ex husband’s. If I decide to collect at 62, and collect on his, would I get mine, plus $700 from his to equal what his is, or would i just get half of his, or strictly have to take mine because it is higher than half of his?

    • Hi Charles ! Benefits issued through our Supplemental Security Income or SSI program are based on the needs of the individual and are only paid to the qualifying person. There are no spouse’s, children’s or survivors benefits payable. Benefits paid through our Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, in certain circumstances, are payable to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

  86. I’m still confused. My ex is 63 and I am 64 – both our birthdays are in August. If I started taking my own benefits now, I think it might be SLIGHTLY more than half my ex’s. But can I start taking half his when he’s 65 and I’m 66 and then wait to take my own when I’m 70? Do I have to be 66 to do that?

  87. I would like to ask if I can collect survivors benefits from my wife when our marriage last long 8 years but after we divorced we live together for more than 5 years after she died?

  88. My wife and I are going through a divorce. Have been married for just over 2 years. She wants me to pay $3750 a month until she gets back on SSI that she lost when we got married so she says since I make over $100,000 a year. She said she won’t sign divorce papers unless I agree to this. She lives in Texas and I live in Mississippi.

    My question is, is she really entitled to anything from me since we have only been married for 2 years? She’s 38 years old and has 3 kids, 1 one which is “disabled”. I shouldn’t be liable for anything since we haven’t been married that long. I need help.

  89. To whom this may concern…my ex and I have been divorced for over 15 years…he just remarried a year ago and I am still single….we were married for 20 years… in our divorce decree, the Honorable Judge Carmondy wrote a clause or stipulated that I his ex to be would entitled to receive half of his carpenters pension upon his retirement…he worked in Illinois and California as a union carpenter…I was called back in Sept by him to tell me that he was going to retire…he asked if I had a copy of the decree….I recently moved closer to my daughters out of state, and I’m at a loss to know what my options are…I’m not financially able to hire a lawyer or attorney to see that these monies come to me…he’s not willing to work with me either…I would think if he’s drawing it, I should be too…I’m 61 and he’s 56…I did get a copy of the decree, and called the court house…they can’t assist me…the local says to file a QDRO…that takes money and I haven’t any…so please the extra $500 a month would definitely come in handy…I know in Aug I can start filing for his ss as well…I need direction with sound advice…please respond… Blessings Shelia

  90. Just a question for my friends mom. She got married in Aug 1997 and divorced in May 2007, does she still qualify or no because it hasn’t been 10 years to the month? I say no, but I’m not a divorce lawyer.

    • Hello Matthew, according to our rules, an individual may be eligible for Divorced Spouse Benefits if he or she was legally married to the worker for at least 10 years before the date the divorce became final. We hope this information helps.

  91. My husband has been missing now for 5 months and the police believes he is deceased however I don’t have documentation to support this since his body has not been recovered from the ocean. I have two children under the age of 12. We had been married 19 years and he turned 60 last year.
    How can I start collecting on his SS benefits

  92. My ex wife was born January 15th 1954. I was born in 1952.We were married more than 10 years and legally divorced. She never remarried. Will she be able to collect benefits based on my record? Whom should she contact?
    Thank you

  93. I am a divorced (married 18 years)spouse, caring for a disabled adult child of the NH. I am age 62. I had just bearly enough time thru my working years to draw retirement benefits because I was caring for our daughter. I have been reading that a divorced spouse that is caring for a child or disabled adult child receives benefits with no reduction at age 62. I have read it numerous places on the ss websites, but they are still reducing mine. why?

    • Thank you for your question, E. Lawhorn. Based on the information you provided, you are correct in that “if a spouse is caring for a qualifying child, the spousal benefit is not reduced.” However, there might be missing information from your situation that we need to consider. For your security, we do not have access to personal records in this venue. We encourage you to contact your local Social Security office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for further assistance and an explanation.

  94. Did the change in SSA law in late 2015 affect the divorced spouse benefit in my case? In 2012-13, I talked with SSA and confirmed that I: qualified for the divorced spouse benefit (married over 10 years, didn’t remarry, he is older than his FRA), could wait until I reached my FRA (age 66 this year), then restrict my application to the divorced spouse benefit, let my own benefit grow to age 70, then switch at age 70 to my deferred benefit. Is this still true? Thank you.

    • Thank you for your question, Karen. Section 831 of the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015 eliminates aggressive claiming loopholes related to “deemed” filing and voluntary suspension of benefits. The new law will be implemented on a prospective basis only. Our legislative and policy staffs are diligently working with Congress to analyze the intent of the legislation and update our instructions. Please check back for updates.

  95. I have legally been married for 16 years, and have 2 children with my husband, however we have not lived together for the past 14 years. He currently receives social security because he is very ill and unable to work, thus my 2 children receiving social security benefits as well. If he were to pass away, will my children continue to receive benefits, and would I receive benefits for being his legal wife?

    • Thank you for your questions Jessica. Normally, Benefits For Children stop when children reach age 18, unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, Social Security benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first. You may be eligible for Widow’s Benefits. Hope this information helps.

  96. I am 66 and plan to work until age 70. My benefit will increase every month. Question, does the survivor benefit increase as well?

    • Good question Eugene. As a general rule, survivors benefits based on age will be about the same total Social Security benefits over a lifetime, whether they start early or at full survivors retirement age. If monthly benefits start before full retirement age, the amount is smaller to take into account the longer period a person receives them. This chart lists full retirement ages for survivors based on year of birth. Click on the year of birth to find out how much the benefit will be reduced if someone begins receiving survivors benefits between age 60 and full retirement age. In the other hand, a widow(er) of a worker who had received or was eligible for delayed retirement credits, then the widow(er) is also entitled to the same increase that had been applied to the benefit of the deceased spouse or for which the deceased was eligible as of the time of death. A surviving (including divorced) spouse receiving widow(er)’s benefits is also entitled to this increase. Take care

    • Hi Janet. No, an ex-wife cannot receive disability benefits on the ex-husband’s record. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are paid based on an individual’s own earnings or work history. SSDI pays benefits to those who cannot work due to a disability that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, providing that person has paid enough into the Social Security program.
      An ex-wife may be eligible to divorced spouse’s benefits based on the ex-husband’s work record if he is entitled to retirement or disability benefits. See our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more information on this topic.

  97. My first husband of 28 years died 3 years ago at the age of 56. I have since remarried and plan to divorce my second husband. I know I would not qualify for his SS benefits since we have been married well under 10 years, and do not care to. My question is, may I collect social security benefits from my deceased husband when eligible, even though I have remarried? What age would I be eligible? Thank you.

    • No one ever answered my question from back in January. Will someone please answer this for me?
      My first husband of 28 years died 3 years ago at the age of 56. I have since remarried and plan to divorce my second husband. I know I would not qualify for my second husbands SS benefits since we have been married well under 10 years. My question is, may I collect social security benefits from my deceased husband when eligible, even though I have remarried & divorced? What age would I be eligible? Thank you.

  98. A friend of mine received SS benefits as a divorced widow. She married again, informed the Administration about her marriage and benefits were terminated. However, this second marriage lasted for a very short time. The question is: is she entitled to continue receiving benefits in her first husband’s (deceased) account? Thank you for clarifying this issue.

    • I have noticed that everybody’s question has been answered except mine, which was formulated on January 21, 2016. I would appreciate your comments. Thank you, Gloria M. Esteva.

  99. 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 but has been in the private sector for awhile now. I’m sure there are other ways for me to find his SS number but would it be worth it? Thanks.

    • Hi Evelyn, we are sorry for the inconveniences. Your mother should be able to provide our representatives with other identifying information about your father. Also, she will be required to provide more detailed information about herself and her previous marriages. If your mother is eligible for Divorced Spouse Benefits, the amount of benefits she receives has no effect on the amount of benefits your father or his current spouse may receive. Your mother should call us back at 1-800-772-1213 and ask a representative to assist her.

  100. I was married to a ex military (not active at the time) for less than 10 years. We had a daughter that was born with a lack of oxygen which is now 36 an unable to get into a school or a job. SS benefits have been applied for and now on appeal. My ex husband re-married and never had children, additionally, we have not heard from him in more than 15 years and saw my daughter a few times before. Is she entitled to benefits from him? He might be retired at this point but do not know where he is. Thanks.

    • Hi Carmen. An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. For a child with a disability to receive benefits on a parent’s record, the disability must have started before age 22 and he or she must meet the definition of disability for adults.

  101. I have a question. My mom was married to my father for more than 30 years. They lived apart for most of that time. He lived with another women as well. My mother finally filed for a divorce four months ago and appeared in court last week to finalize it. A day later, I discover my father passed away two weeks prior to the hearing. I informed my mother who informed the lawyer and the judge. We were in awe his family didn’t not mention this at the hearing. Anyway, my questions is…is my mother entitled to any benefits since she was still legally married up until his death? Or is the other women entitled to it??? Any information will be appreciated.

    • Hi Lisa, we are sorry to hear about your father’s passing. A widow or a surviving divorced spouse of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, could receive reduced benefits as early as age 60. (age 50 or over if disabled). If she is eligible, your mother can apply for benefits by calling our national toll-free service at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visiting her local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if she calls ahead and schedules one, it can significantly reduce her waiting time at the office. Please visit our Survivors Benefit Planner to see what information and documents she may need to apply.

  102. I am married to my husband he will start getting his ss check in april he will be 62 I am 59 can I draw half at 62 not divorced married43 years just wanted to know if I can draw at 62

  103. My ex and I lived together and bought a house in Aug 2004, the year before we actually got married. We were married April 2005, and divorced in Sept 2014. If I can show proof of living together and proof of house purchase, can I be eligible for his SS benefits, when I turn 62?
    Thanks.

    • Hello Kmaymaj, according to our rules, at age 62, an individual may be eligible for Divorced Spouse Benefits if he or she was legally married to the worker for at least 10 years before the date the divorce became final. We hope this information helps.

  104. my ex just died and I get 70% we where married for 12 years, I am disabled,51, collect ss already. My kid’s get half of what I get, so will they still get money from their mom’s retirement and can they collect both? She was paying me child support and spousal support and with out the child support I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can not get any other benefit’s and kid’s only get health insurance. That helps out so much but food and housing will be really tight

    • We are sorry to hear about your ex-wife’s passing. If you are the divorced spouse of a worker who dies, you could get benefits just the same as a widow or widower, provided that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. Normally, benefits for children stop when children reach age 18, unless they are disabled. However, if the child is still a full-time student at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, Social Security benefits will continue until the child graduates or until two months after the child becomes age 19, whichever is first. Hope this information helps.

  105. SSA communications are always terrible. They never reveal that whatever the thing is they are touting, it really won’t benefit you. It does however, keep that office of the federal government employed, so the more applications they get for things that don’t benefit taxpayers, oh well, because it keeps them in jobs. Their communications are always awful!

  106. okay so my mom was married for 15 years with 4 kids and they got divorced and he married 5 years later and then died. so my mother is 56 can she file for benefits now or when she is 62? She does work her butt off and she has not been married since then. So should she apply or wait for 8 more years? Please help me Thanks

  107. Hi,

    I will be 62 this year. When my husband passed away we were married for 9 years and 4 months. Does that mean I am ineligible for spouse benefits since the marriage was less than 10 years? Thank you.

    • If you are the widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). The 10-year marriage rule applies to a surviving divorced spouse. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivors benefits. Please contact your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to speak to someone. Call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and ask one of our representatives to assist you. Representatives are available between 7 AM and 7 PM Monday through Friday. Thanks.

  108. About a year ago I was advised that when I turn 66, to consider collecting a portion of my exhusband’s ( of 11 years) SS delaying collect my full amount when I turn 70 yrs old. Then she felt collecting his for those few years would not reduce my full amount later. What is the SS rule now? Thank you.

  109. I was married for 10 yrs. During that time I became disabled in 1998. Divorced in2002. I was told that I could get a check from his ss. I am 59. Can I and if so at what age?

    Thank you for your help

    Cindy

  110. What month does one begin receiving social security benefits (based on their birthday). Assuming one waits until full retirement. Born 1950. Birthday is April 28.
    Do full benefits begin in the month of April, 2016 ? or May, 2016 ? The first check would be deposited (via Direct deposit) when ? Is one paid in May for April’s benefit,
    then June for May’s benefit or how does the payment schedule work ? Thanks, John

  111. I read “Full retirement benefits are payable beginning with the month FRA (Full Retirement Age) is attained regardless of the day of the month,”. If one turns age 66 on April 28, 2016 then FRA would be reached April 1 ? Is this correct ?
    Meaning benefits would be paid for the month of April ?
    And a check would be issued on what date ?

    One of the questions on the Social Security application asks whether I wish to receive my first check in April, 2016 OR May, 2016 ? This question confuses me.

    Can you assist ?

    Thanks, John L

  112. im in a really ruff spot here. i was married for 9 yrs 11 months. i applied to collect social security from my ex husbands social security. even with living together for 6 months before we got married. social security does not recognize common law marriages. and they have told me that i cannot collect from him. which would give me alot more every month from social security. shamefully i will 288 dollars a month. but if i collect from my ex husbands social security the lady told me it would be immeasurable amount then what i would be getting from mine. i stayed home house kept , we had 4 daughters together. my final divorce decree was for extreme mental cruelty, in my favor. to me this has been another slap in the face from my ex husband. is there anything i can do that would reverse this decision from social security. that would permit me to collect from my ex husband?

  113. I am writing this for my friend. She recently (Oct 2015)started the process of filing for ex spouse benefits. She meets all the criteria (married 25 yrs and never remarried). She supplied her marriage and divorce certificates and her personal identification. Her contact person requested her ex’s address and phone number. She supplied that information as well. Social Security called the ex husband and he was uncooperative and stated he was getting a lawyer. (For what, I don’t know.) The Social Security contact then asked her to provide his birth certificate. He is uncooperative, they are estranged. Why are they requesting she jump through all these hoops? She cannot make him cooperate nor does it state on the SSA.gov website that she is responsible to provide all these “extras”. What should she do? Thank you in advance for any guidance you can provide.

    • We are sorry to hear of all the inconveniences your friend is going through. Thank you for helping out Laura. Proof of age is required when age (62) is a factor in determining retirement or dependent’s benefits. The primary proof of age when applying for retirement benefits is the original copy of his birth certificate. Your friend should continue working with our agents, as they may be able to assist her further in preparation to file for her benefits. See our Divorced Spouse web page for information.

  114. hi,
    my parents married in 1981, my mother is Filipina and my father is American,he’s an ex Navy.They are separated and no communication since 1987 but still not remarried untill to this date, my mom is 61this year (2016) and she is scheduled to have her catarat remove next year (2017).Is she able to claim any sss benefits through my father’s record?( my father listed my mother as dependant on her record when they get married in Subic Bay, Philippines). Can she apply for any SSS pension through my father’s ?

  115. I am an ex-wife, whose ex-husband passed away at age 52, today he would be 65. I meet the criteria to receive his benefits, we were married 20 years and I am not remarried. I am 62, still working and make over 50,000. I know that when i reach retirement age of 66 my benefits will be greater than his since I ultimately made more money than he did.
    I would like to apply for his benefits now to receive the maximum allowable benefit against his account. Then I would switch to my benefits when I turn FRA at 66. My question; if I do this, when I apply for my FRA benefits, will I receive 100% of my benefits based on my earnings or will my benefits be somehow limited because I took his benefits now before I reach full retirement age. I really need to understand how this works. Since my ss will be my major retirement income, I don’t want to make a mistake now that will reduce my ss in the future. Any clarity would be helpful.

    • Thank you for your question, Elaine. In many cases, a widow can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate. If you are working and younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, your earnings may reduce your benefit amount. For more information you can also call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), representatives are available between 7AM and 7PM, Monday through Friday. You will generally have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. We hope this information helps!

  116. I filed for a request for reconsideration for a retirement/spousal appeal. It has been 90 days..can you tell me how long does this take before I hear anything? Thank You!

    • Thank you for your question. The length of time it takes to receive a decision on your request for an appeal could vary from case-to-case. Typically, we reevaluate all evidence, plus any additional evidence submitted and make a new decision. If you have questions about your reconsideration, please contact your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week.

  117. I am a disabled 57 year old female. I draw SSI. I was married to my ex husband for 35 years. He has became disabled and drawing Soc. Security at the age of 58. Am I entitled to draw off of him now, or must i wait untill I am 60?

    • Hello Jena, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 if:
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced. Thanks!

  118. Hello. I am in the process of commencing my SS retirement application for early retirement. I married around 1983 but have been separated for about 24 years and never divorced. My ex refuses to give me her SS # that I need to complete the application. What are my options.

    • Hi Alfredo. Our representatives will be able to assist you further in completing your application for retirement benefits. Please contact your local office or you can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks!

  119. my friend divorced her husband who was a vet many yrs ago, and he has passed away. she is getting SS in his name, although now she is full retirement age (69). I don’t know if he ever remarried but she did not..Is she eligible for any VA benefits?…..she is facing a lot of financial difficulty because of medical problems, and even saving on prescriptions would be helpful.

  120. I just filed for a divorce and it will be final after our 10 year anniversary date. Would the Benefits apply since its final after the 10 years mark ..or do they go by the documents which state” marriage began 4/9/06 ended 2/17/16?
    Thank you!

  121. My mother currently collects her benefits, supplemental benefits, and ss divorced benefits from my dad. My dad told me that he wants an annulment from my mom so that his second marriage will be recognized by the Catholic church. Will my mom still receive his social security if their marriage is annulled?
    Or will the annulment disqualify my mom’s claims to his social security?
    Thank you for your input.

    • Thank you for your question, Tammy. Our “Termination of Benefits” policy indicates that an annulment would affect a legal current spouse but not a divorced spouse. An annulment would not normally apply to a divorced spouse because the fact that getting a divorce implies that the marriage itself was valid. In addition, Social Security follows the state law. We hope this information helps.

  122. It is strange that it is very hard to find a clear statement from SSA about what happens to the WORKER’s money upon divorce. If my husband claims “on my record” does that mean I get only half of what I would have been entitled to get? The following sounds like the good news that it has no effect of what I will receive but is that true, or am I splitting it with him? “The amount of benefits you get has no effect on the amount of benefits your ex-spouse or his or her current spouse may receive.”

    • The amount of your Social Security benefit will depend on the amount of your average lifetime earnings. We establish and pay your monthly benefit amount first, then we pay benefits to other family members who may qualify on your record. If you have a divorced spouse who qualifies for benefits, it will not affect the amount of benefits you may receive. In other words, his payments will not decrease your retirement benefit. You can use our Online Retirement Estimator to get estimates on your future retirement benefits. You can also create a my Social Security account to review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits; your earnings record; and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.

  123. My name is Khan will be 65 in March 15, was married with Karen for more than 13 years, Finally we divorced but she was still living with me at my house. she was getting social security disability about $1300.00 a month and than she passed away in December 2003 and the same year she turned age 66 in December 2003.
    After her death i married again at age 54 with Tina age 34 …but now after 11 years of marriage she is going to divorce me. I applied for my social security benefits at age 64 and getting $800 a month ….My question from you i she divorce me can i get Ex deceased spousal benefit and how much it gone a be please help me with this. i have no job due to health issue i had 2 strokes and if she will be gone how i can survive in $800 a month. Please let me know what i should do.. thanks

    • Hi Khan. If you remarry before you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if you need further assistance. Thanks.

      • thanks for your reply, if she divorce me after this divorce i still will not be able to get any benefits from ex deceased spouse benefits
        please reply
        thanks

        • Hi Khan. Again, if you remarry before you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married. As a divorced spouse of a worker who died, you may be eligible to receive benefits just the same as a widower. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if you need further assistance. Thanks.

    • To clarify, the marriage was longer than 10 years. I am 64. I know this would be an option, at the moment, if I had reached full retirement age but can’t find info as to whether it is available prior to that. I would like to wait to collect my own retirement benefits.

      • Under existing law, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse (or divorced spouse) in the first month you want your benefits to begin and are not yet full retirement age, you must apply for both benefits. You will receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other. See “How the law is changing” or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our representatives for more information.

  124. Hi. My father passed away in 1997. My mother never remarried and recently turned 60. How can I find out what my father’s benefit would have been in order to determine if I mother should try to collect it?

    • As a widow of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, your mother can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled). The benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the person who died. The more he or she paid into Social Security, the higher the benefit amount would be. At this time, we do not offer an online application for survivors benefits. Your mother should contact her local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if she calls ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time she spends waiting to speak to someone. Also, she can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak with one of our representatives. Representatives are available between 7 AM and 7 PM Monday through Friday. Thanks.

  125. I am 70 years old and have been receiving my ex husband’s social security benefits as we were married for 20 years. He remarried, and recently died. His wife is now 63 years of age. I was just notified that the benefits I normally receive will go up almost double of what I was receiving. Is this correct? I don’t want to take anything away from his new wife.

    • We appreciate your concern, Michelle. Benefits paid to you as a surviving divorced spouse won’t affect the benefit rates for other survivors getting benefits on the worker’s record. Also, your increase is due to the fact that survivor’s benefits are paid at a higher percentage than regular spouse or divorced spouse benefits. Thanks!

  126. “When my ex spouse and I divorced we were married 16 years. He has retired from the military and I receive my part of his retirement. If I remarry, can I still draw my part of his retirement?

  127. Hello…I’m a divorced stay home mother of three children. 55 years of age. My husband left the household and divorced me after 17 years of marriage. While I supported the family at home, he will be receiving Social Security and I only had part time jobs here and there. Am I due Social Security in relation to working/supporting a family while ex-spouse worked. Thank you.

  128. I am 61 and will turn 62 in Nov of this year, i am on disability for MS and am divorced, we were married for 30 yrs, he is retired. Im told i can file for benefits on his Social Security. How soon can i do this and how? How will i know what i will receive?

    • Good question Sherry. If the benefit you receive now based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive on your ex-husband’s record, you may be eligible for an increase of your monthly benefit amount. Sometimes, a person may be entitled to more than one benefit at the same time and may receive a combination of benefits equaling a higher amount. You will have to contact us 3 months before your 62 birthday to see if you qualify for a higher benefit amount. See our Retirement Planner: If You’re Divorced for more information.

  129. I have been on Social Security disability since I was 55 for an illness.I am now 60. I was married before for over 15 years, and since have remarried going on 16 years to new husband who is same age as me. Will I be able at 62 to receive additional benefits from my current husband’s Social Security even though he is not going to retire until he is 66? If so , do they figure if half of his is higher than what I receive now on my own disability? Thank you

    • Hi Joslyn. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be at least 62 years of age and your spouse must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. When you qualify for Social Security benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. But if you also qualify for a higher amount as a spouse later on, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount. Visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. Thanks!

  130. Here is the scenario: I already collect my Social Security at age 62. IF and when my ex-husband passes away while I am still on SS, can I then collect his higher SS amount? I know SS pays half of his (which is lower than my current amount) while he is alive. But what happens when he dies because he is 10 years older than me? Can I then collect his full amount?

    • Hi Gail, if the benefit you receive now based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive on your husband’s record as a widow, you may be eligible for an increase of your monthly benefit amount. Your survivor benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the person who died. The more he paid into Social Security, the higher your benefits would be. The monthly amount you would get is a percentage of the deceased’s basic Social Security benefit. For more information visit our Survivors Planner: How Much Would Your Benefit Be?

  131. Hi My mother and father are separated for about 3 yrs now and they have been married(still married) for about 45 yrs. My dad get over $800 more than my mom, can she file to increase her benefits or ale some from his, or do they have to be divorced? Thanks so Much.

    • Hi Grace, if your mother is receiving spouse’s benefits, then she is probably already receiving the highest benefit amount she is entitled to, under your father’s record. She will not get a higher benefit if they are divorced. Please visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. Thanks!

  132. I will be eligible to receive benefits on my ex-husband’s record in a few years (I am 56, unmarried, and married for 20 years before divorcing). My ex-husband turns 62 this year. If he chooses to retire early and reduce his own benefit, is the benefit I’m eligible for later also reduced? Or is the benefit amount I’m eligible for on his record based independently on his full retirement amount, so long as I don’t take it before MY full retirement age? Thanks!

  133. I filed for ex spousal benefits at 67 and let mine grow until 70. I received the spousal benefit checks based on ex’s birthday but now that I have switched to my own benefits I am still receiving the checks based on his birthday, not mine. Is this correct and do I need to inform Social Security if this is an error.

    • Hello Marie. Generally, the day of the month you receive your benefit payment depends on the birth date of the person for whose earnings record you receive benefits. Sometimes, a person may be entitled to more than one benefit at the same time and may receive a combination of benefits equaling a higher amount. For example, a person may be entitled as a retired worker on his/her own record and also as a spouse on another record. With that said, a person’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest single benefit amount to which that person is entitled. In some cases, payment date may not change.
      For your security, we do not have access to personal information via this blog. We suggest contacting our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213 and speaking to one of our representatives for specific concerns about your situation. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  134. I am an ex spouse who has never remarried,was married for 15 years to ex. He passed away 2 years ago and I am just filing now as I just found out. I am 65 years old. Would I get any back pay from the time of his death?

    • Hi Echo and thank you for your question. Individuals must officially file an application to receive Social Security benefits. Generally, we allow retroactivity up to six months for retirement and survivor claimants, only after the applicant has reached his or her full retirement age. No retroactive benefits are payable for any month before individuals reach their full retirement age. If you have additional questions, please continue working with your local office or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

      • Ray, thank you so much for the information. I am going to follow thru with the information you have provided. Echo 🙂

  135. To clarify this, if I draw on my-spouse’s (and not touch mine) social security at age 62, I will receive half of his benefits, correct? Then, when I reach full retirement age of 67, I can start drawing on my full Social Security benefits?

  136. hello. I am a 58 year old disabled woman. I became disabled about 3 years after my divorce to my first husband who I was married to for 26 years. I remarried and my husband is now functionally deaf and has other conditions. He has had hearing problems most of his life and does not have enough work credits to get social security. Is there any instance in which I can get my ex’s benefits when I turn 62. My second husband is not getting disability and we are living on my $769

    • Hello Lisa, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 if:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced. Thanks

  137. My mother and my step dad were together, unmarried for rough 15years but move to NC and lived together jointly, in 2004 until they officially got married in March 2006 they finalized their divorced in August of 2015 and he died 2 months later. Many years before they officially got married that had a commitment ceremony — NC doesn’t have common law marriage but they lived in CA prior to relocation and making NC their home. Seems pretty crummy that they were together for 15 years and only officially married for 9years and 6 months and she can’t collect any of his Soc Sec….would her being his beneficiary on his pension make any difference? Are we reading everything correct and she is not able to collect his soc sec?

  138. My ex-husband & I were married 11yrs.We are both 56.He has remarried over 10yrs.He is very ill & now on disability. I am on disabi
    lity also.What will be my benefits,if any,when he passes away.Do I notify Soc. Sec. or do they notify me?

  139. I have a friend that will be FRA this December. She has been married over 10 yrs and divorced over 15 yrs. Her ex-spouse is 72yrs old and receives his retirement of $2000 each month. When she retires at FRA she would be entitled to 50% of his which is $1000. Her amount on record is $1200. The question is, can she delay hers on record so it can build up to max out at 32% when she turns 70yrs old. And take his $1000 to tide over until she turns 70yrs old ???

    • Thank you for your question, Richard. The benefits as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of the ex-spouse’s full retirement amount if the applicant or claimant starts receiving benefits at his or her full retirement age. At her full retirement age, your friend can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving her retirement benefit until a later date. We hope this helps!

  140. I am disable and receiving SSI. My ex-husband of 11 years retired in 2005 at the age of 66. His income from 1970 to 1980 was $90,000 and from 1980 to 2005 income of $100,000. I would like an idea of how much I could get if I apply for his social security at the age of 61 years or age 62 years.

    • Thank you for your question Angela. Generally, spouse’s benefits begin at age 62. For security reasons, we do not have access to personal records via this blog and are unable to provide you with any estimate of what you may be entitled to. Also, remember that SSI recipients who –at any time- are potentially eligible for any or other Social Security benefits on their own record and the records of others (e.g., spouse’s benefits), are required to apply at age 62. Failure to apply for additional benefits will result in suspension or termination of their SSI benefits. We hope this information is helpful.

  141. Please clarify for me:

    I am 61 years old. I am separated after a 38 year marriage. When I am 62 I can draw on my husbands work record. But if we divorce I must wait 2 years? Which means that I must wait until age 63 to retire on his work record if we divorce asap?

    Also, What if I remarry before age 62? Then I must be married for 1 year before I can draw on my current husbands work record?

    So, I have to decide to get married again soon so that I can retire at age 63 on my future husbands record??

    Do I have this correct??

    • Thank you for your question, Terry. Generally, if you are divorced and your marriage lasted at least 10 years, you may be eligible to draw spousal benefits starting at age 62. That is if you do not have sufficient work history to draw benefits on your own record. If you remarry, you must remain married for one year before becoming eligible for benefits on the new spouse’s record. We hope this helps.

  142. Hello, my mother is 61 and my father is 62. My mother has been collecting ss disability for years due to an illness. The longest she’s ever worked a job is about 5 or 6 years. She is divorced but was married to my father for about 23 years (divorced 2001). My father still works and has worked his whole life. Will my mother get an increase if she applies for social security retirement ?? Or will her payments remain relatively the same? She doesn’t get much on disability.

  143. I am confused by verbiage. From an earlier post, regarding a divorced spouse claiming benefits from their ex (10 years married, qualifying for benefits), one answer said this:
    “…If you also qualify for a higher amount as a d
    divorced spouse, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount….”

    In response to another post, this was the response to a similar question: “…Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age…” .

    These are two different responses given for similar questions. Can you give examples for clarification?

    • Let us clarify Cindy. First remember that if you are eligible for both your own retirement benefits and benefits as a divorced spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit. For example: Let’s say that at your full retirement age you qualify for a retirement benefit of $250 and a divorced spouse’s benefit of $400. You will receive your own $250 retirement benefit, and we will add $150 from your ex-spouse’s benefit, for a total of $400.
      Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age.
      If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. These reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for.
      We hope this information helps. Visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more information, or call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if you have additional questions. Thanks.

  144. My wife and I are divorcing late in life. She is 68 and I am 72. She began collecting SS at age 63 and I began at full retirement age.
    As as a stay at home mom, her life time earnings were low resulting in a SS monthly payment is $1,020.90 and mine is $2247.65 per month. Strangely it is not clear if after the divorce would she be able to apply to collect on my earnings record and therefor increase her monthly SS income by 1/2 of mine or roughly, $1,123.00 for a total of
    $2,143.90 per month. It is important for us to understand for the calculating her income following the divorce.
    Can you help us. We are getting conflicting advice from the SS office in Montpelier, Vermont.
    Thank you

    • Hello Mr. Parker, the benefit as a divorced spouse can be equal to one-half of the ex-spouse’s full retirement amount. However, this is true only if she started receiving benefits at her full retirement age. Due to the fact that she filed to receive benefit earlier at age 63, her benefit was adjusted accordingly for collecting early. If a person begins to receive Social Security benefits prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. These reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for. Please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more information, or call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if you have additional questions. Thanks.

  145. I have a question I hope someone can help answer. I am 56 years old and I’m collecting social security disability. I was married for 26 years to a woman who was seven years older than me, presently she is 63 years old. Am I able to collect any of her social security on top of my disability Social Security payments. I don’t know who to ask because Social Security giving me a run around all the time. I would appreciate any help or answers I could get thank you very much

    • Hello James, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 if:
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced. Thanks!

  146. My ex husband was 63 when he passes away. Neither of us remarried. I am almost 61. How does it work with his social security benefit. Am I able to collect on his social security. I am still working thought. I would like some information .
    Thank you
    Vicki Thelen

    • Hi Vicki. A divorced spouse of a deceased worker, could get benefits just the same as a widow or widower, provided that the marriage lasted 10 years or more. You can start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60. Also, you can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, since you are younger than the full retirement age (currently age 66), working and earning over the yearly earnings limit could reduce your monthly benefit amount (2016 limit is $15,720). See our Frequently Asked Questions page for complete information. We hope this information helps.

  147. Married 32 years, divorced 13, have not remarried. Work and have contributed toward my own SS. Will reach full retirement age this year on 7/7/16. Can I draw off of my X’s SS and delay my own SS, so it will continue to build. Want to continue to work to 68-70.

  148. If I wasn’t married to my ex spouse at time of his death and I’m still listed as beneficiary for his pension plan, can I still receive that money even though I have remarried. His pension plan rep says no but I am hearing otherwise.

  149. I lived with my ex-spouse for 2 years before we got legally married. We lived together a total of 10 years, 2 not married and 8 legally married. Does that make me eligible to receive benefits based on his benefits?

    • Hello Carol, according to our rules, at age 62, an individual may be eligible for Divorced Spouse Benefits if he or she was legally married to the worker for at least 10 years before the date the divorce became final. In cases where a common-law marriage may be involved, Social Security follows the state laws. So, check the laws in your state. We hope this information helps.

  150. Hi…My ex-husband is receiving disability benefits…We were married for over 10 yrs. I am the custodial parent of our 12 yr old child. I am under 62 and work full-time. Can my child or I receive benefits and if so how does my income affect them? Thank you

    • Thank you for your question Helen. If your ex-husband is receiving disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, his minor children may also qualify to receive benefits on his record. Normally, benefits for children stop when children reach age 18, unless they are disabled. Visit our Disability Planner: Benefits For Your Children for more information on this topic. In the other hand, disability benefits issued through our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, are based on the needs of the individual and are only paid to the qualifying person. There are no spouse’s, children’s or survivors benefits payable.
      To learn more on “How Work Affects Your Social Security Benefits”, visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page. If you have specific questions and to see if your son qualifies for benefits, call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait-time if you call later in the day and later in the week.

  151. I will be 62 in 2017. I am a divorcee of 10 years and my question is if I retired on my ex’s SS benefit at age 62 and when I reach full retirement age at 66 and 6 months – am I able to take that benefit amount if its more than my ex’s benefit amount?

    • Hi Deborah. If and when you apply for Social Security benefits –at age 62- you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your ex-spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. The option to restrict an application extends only to individuals who have attained their full retirement age (currently 66). Please see our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more information.

  152. My husband and I were married 16 years when we divorced in 1989. We both worked many years and both paid into ss. He passed away in 2007. He made about 40k a year for his 30 years with his company and i about the same. I am 60 years old and am planning on retiring soon. I have a 401k in which I’ll receive 900 a month for the next 30 years. I just didn’t know what I needed to do. Can I collect my deceased ex husbands ss asking with mine when I retire? Can I collect his now and maybe wait to retire? Would it be worth even trying to collect his? I spoke with hr at my company and apparently I’m eligible for 2400 a month. I’m not sure that ss is included in that number since I’m 60. This all seems so confusing and really didn’t get the answers I wanted from hr. I’m just looking out for my best interests! Thanks!

    • Hi Sharon, a surviving divorced spouse can start receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60. In many cases, a widow or surviving divorced spouse can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate. The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation. You cannot apply for survivor’s benefits online. If you decide to apply, you will need to contact your local office, or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
      Social Security does not count pension payments, annuities, or the interest or dividends from your savings and investments as earnings. Also, if you work while you receive Social Security retirement (or survivors) benefits, your earnings may reduce your benefit amount if you make more than the yearly earnings limit. For 2016, the yearly limit is $15,720 for individuals under full retirement age. See our “Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working” for more information. We hope this information helps.

  153. If your 1st husband is killed in accident and you remarry and husband dies why are allow to collect on first husband SS if you don’t collect on second because he didn’t make as much money. This doesn’t seem right an don’t you think we could save a lot of money by not doing this?

  154. how does this work? female married over 10 years now divorced. Ex spouse (main income earner – still working) is 5 years younger. I am turning 65 in August 2016. When can I file on his SS?

    • Hello Connie. Generally, a divorced spouse may be able to receive benefits on the ex-spouse’s record starting at age 62 or older. However, your ex-spouse must also be of retirement age himself (62 years old) and entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits. If your ex-spouse does not apply for retirement benefits, but qualifies for benefits at age 62, you can receive Divorced Spouse’s benefits on his record as long as you have been divorced for at least two years. For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced. Thanks!

  155. So my mom is 66 and going to retire this year my dad is 63 and has already retired but they got divorced 16 years ago could my father claim Social Security or retirement on my Mom’s behalf? Vice versa can my mom claim on my father’s behalf and collect? My mom is currently single and has been for the past 16 years my father has remarried 5 times, Can this affect my mother?

    • Hi Eddie. Generally, a divorced spouse may be able to receive benefits on the ex-spouse’s record starting at age 62 or older. Here are the requirements to receive benefits if you are divorced:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

      Your mom should also read our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information. Thanks!

  156. I have a question. I will be a retired teacher soon. My almost ex is demanding 1/2 my strs retirement, which is not big since I started teaching at age 50. Will I be able to obtain any of his ss? if so will an ‘off set’ apply? Looks like I will be trying to live on $700 month, 1/2 my strs Please direct.

    Thank you

    • Hi Sandy, you may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 if
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      However, if you receive a pension from a job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes, your Social Security benefit on your ex-spouse’s record may be affected. For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

  157. I will be 65 in Nov. and I am a retiring teacher. I did pay into SS for the required quarters prior to my teaching career. My question is, can I draw on my ex-husbands social security while receiving my STRS retirement? He is 74 at this time.
    Thanks so much. MB

    • Hi Margaret. A pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies, such as police officers and some teachers) may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced. Your benefits can be reduced based on one of two provisions. Your own Social Security benefit can be reduced based on the Windfall Elimination Provision. If you are divorced and qualify for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, your benefits may be affected by the Government Pension Offset. Remember, you should contact us about three months before your 65th birthday to see if you qualify for Medicare.

  158. In January, 2015 I called and spoke with a Social Security representative. I was applying for social security retirement for the first time. I told her I wanted to apply using my ex-husbands social security information. She checked and said that because his amount would be less than my amount it wasn’t allowed. I told her even though it was a lessor amount I still wanted to claim on his until I turned 70, and then claim on mine. I’m not sure if she wasn’t listening or understood what I was saying but declined to enter it that way and said I had use my information. In April, 2016 I read an article online stating that I could claim on my ex-husband’s information even at a lessor amount so I called and made an appointment with Social Security. Later that same month I went to the Dade City office and spoke with another representative. She confirmed that I could claim on my ex-husband’s information and submitted a claim. I recently received a letter in May, 2016 informing me that my Social Security benefits had been stopped. I called the Dade City office to inquire as to what was going on and they told me that a decision had not been made yet due to it being a two part process. Later in May, 2016 I received a phone call from the Dade City office stating that the claim to receive payments on my ex-husband’s information had been declined. The representative from the Dade City office told me it was declined because I had been receiving benefits for over a year using my information. The problem is that if the first person I spoke to back in January, 2015 had processed my request correctly none of this would have happened. The Dade City office told me I would receive a letter informing me how to appeal the decision and that I had 60 days to appeal. This is going to be a major problem for me. I am leaving the country on Monday (tomorrow) and will be overseas for 4 months. Can my son receive the letter and handle the appeal for me or does he need to send me the letter? Can I complete the appeal online overseas? I am really lost as to what to do especially since I am quite sure I wont receive the letter before I leave the country. Any help or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Madeleine. We apologize for any inconvenience. You cannot complete an appeal for a non-medical denial online. You can complete and sign the “Request For Reconsideration” form. Your son can take or mail the form to the local office within 60 days from the date they made a determination. We hope this information helps.

  159. my situation: i am 62 and have been disabled since 2010. i have been collecting ssdi since that time on my own earnings record. i understand that i can file against my ex-spouse’s record now. we were married 10 plus years. i just spoke, by phone, with a local ss agent advisor and she said i would need to come into the office though two others advised me that a phone call would be sufficient. one never gets the same information from ss and how does one trust information provided to be the best information when making a decision of this importance? what is the criteria for filing in my situation; how do i know if it will benefit me now or in the future; and what must i provide an agent, in person, in order to receive the advice i need? as i mentioned, i am disabled and need transportation assistance so planning is required and i do not want to go to a ss office only to be told i need to bring other documents and come back at another time since it will take some doing to go the one time. will you please provide a clear answer as to what i now must do and the best questions to ask an agent to ensure i receive the most advantageous advice scenario? thank you.

    • We are sorry for any confusion or misunderstanding Sharon. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You are age 62 or older;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
      However, If you qualify for benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. You can apply online. If we need a divorce decree or if we need additional information, we will contact you after you submit your online application. If you decide not to finish applying online, for whatever reason, you can apply by phone. Call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment and to avoid any loss of benefits. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 7 PM. You should also read our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information. Thanks!

  160. My mother receives part of my now deceased fathers military retirement which amounts to about $700/ month. She is 69 years old and I am wondering is she entitled to anything from social security for herself or from my dad? They were married for 13 years before they divorced.

  161. I was wondering my grandma is receiving ss from her first husband that has pasted away and she just received a letter that she can qualify for ss from her second husband of 15 years they have been divorced now for more then two years is it possible to draw ss off of both ex husbands?

    • Great question Tonya. It appears that both of your grandmother’s marriages may have met the eligibility requirements needed for both: widow’s and divorced spouse benefits. It is possible for a person to be eligible to more than one benefit at the same time. However, we are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either of the two records – meaning that your grandma will only be allowed to receive one payment. Hope this provides clarity. Your grandmother should respond accordingly, to the instructions of the letter as soon as possible. Thanks !

  162. Married 25 yrs, divorced for 2. Ex-husband passed away at age 61. Social Security told me to apply for widows benefits immediately (age 61) because it would not make any difference in the amount whether I waited til age 66 or not. So I did. Is this correct? What is a “death benefit”, who does it go to, and was I supposed to get this, I did not. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your question Marla. A widow or a surviving divorced spouse can start receiving benefits any time between age 60 and full retirement age as a survivor. If the benefits start at an earlier age, they are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before full retirement age. Also, only a surviving spouse or child may receive a special lump-sum death payment of $255 if they meet certain requirements. Generally, the lump-sum death payment is paid to the surviving spouse who was living in the same household with the worker when he or she died. We hope this information helps.

      • Thank you. I’m going to assume I was told correctly that it didn’t make any difference whether I began collecting his SS immediately or waited til I was 66. Correct?

  163. Wanted to know If I would be eligible for any disability benefits of my ex husband who has passed away after we were divorced…We had been married for 10 years….I am currently remarried. I am 59 years of age now……and my ex passed away at the age of 50….Am I entitled to anything? He collected disability benefits the last years of our marriage..

  164. Hi, I am 63 and my ex-husband is now 66 and has begun receiving social security benefits. I understand I can aso begin receiving social security beneifts being that I am ove 62, but if I wait to my age 66, will the benefit be higher? I have no social security beneifts of my own, so it would all be based on his record. thanks,

  165. My situation:
    *married 27 years
    *divorced about 16 years/not remarried
    *will reach FRA this August
    *on Medicare, but have not yet filed for SS retirement benefits.
    The new laws are very confusing! Your answer to a question posted Jan. 14, 2016 about filing on an ex-spouse’s benefit while allowing one’s own benefit to grow until age 70 was to check back for updates. Your March 21 answer to a question posted by Richard on March 19 seems to indicate that at full retirement age it is possible to file on one’s ex-spouse’s record and delay filing on one’s own record allowing one’s own benefit to grow until age 70. I asked this question at my local SS office and was told that the new law eliminated this option. Several days later I asked the same question by phone and was rudely given the same answer. The second blue dialogue box on the SS’s “If You Are Divorced” page seems to indicate that this option is, in fact, available to those born before Jan. 2, 1954. Please don’t just refer me to the “If You Are Divorced” page and/or the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

  166. Me ex husband and I were married for 15 years before we divorced. He retired in about 2007 and passed away in 2010. I found out that I am able to get widows benfits. How far back will they go . I just turned 65.

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