ex-spouse SS benefits - revised post with corrected info

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia and ME & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' started by mbofov, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    UPDATE: This information is all incorrect, see my post below

    Hi all - here's something I learned from my sister who went to a retirement workshop. If your ex-spouse's SS benefits are greater than yours (even if she or he is remarried), you can receive an amount equal to what your ex-spouse is entitled to receive. This is not in addition to your regular benefits, but rather an increase in what you receive so that you receive the same amount as he or she.

    Here's the SS website with more info:
    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/yourdivspouse.htm

    Your marriage has to have lasted 10 years or longer, you have not remarried (or if you did remarry, that marriage ended), you are age 62 or older; The benefit that you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you your ex-spouse's work; and your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

    If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits based on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years.

    This is going to benefit me in a couple of years - it's really an amazing provision.

    And it does NOT affect in any way your ex-spouses' SS benefits even if he or she has remarried.

    Mary
    [This Message was Edited on 04/02/2013]
  2. freida

    freida Active Member

    This is excellent info.
    It doesn't effect me directly,
    but I am very glad it will help you, and helps many other people, who need some benefits and didn't work or were too sick to work as much or earn as much as their ex-spouse.

    Like you said, it does not change their benefits, and is not in addition to your own, you can just receive some or a higher amount.

    Good to get this info out there!

    Leah
  3. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    This really is amazing information and hopefully will helps others too. I didn't know about it before. My SSDI is based on my earnings, and when my ex retires in about a year and a half, his SS will be more than my SSDI. I was really happy to find this out!

    Mary
  4. freida

    freida Active Member

    That's great that it will help you, Mary.

    I'd heard about this, some time ago, and then forgot all about it,
    and would not have known or remembered the details of it, but it did sound familiar, when I read your first post.

    From your info,
    It all means that I could now divorce my huz, LOL

    but no, that's not enough of a reason to do so ;)

    especially since he just learned about, for me, and bought an e-reader for me. LOL

    and because he is a good one. ;)

    Leah


    [This Message was Edited on 03/29/2013]
  5. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    You are so lucky! He sounds like a keeper :)

    Mary
  6. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Active Member

    My husband was 66 and was going to wait until 70, but our accountant said that was foolish because he could be drawing SS even though he's still working at a different company.

    I talked to the SS lady and she said I would get more from going off his. I said I didn't want him to lose $ but she said it didn't affect his draw.

    She also was very accomidating....saying she could put me on disability for FM. I said he was still working and had insurance so we didn't.

    He's now 72, still working until the end of the year when he's going to retire. So for 6 years he's been collecting SS. Our accountant said if he didn't apply it would take him over l0 years or more to make up what he lost by NOT applying. A lot of people don't realize they can get SS and still work.
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    If one were married at least ten years to one's ex, one is entitled to half his or her benefits when one is entitled to his or her own SS, whichever is greater. If that ex has died, you are entitled to his or her full benefits, if greater than yours. Then, your Medicare number changes to his with a D (for dependant) instead of an A. There may be more than one spouse as dependants and each one will receive the full deceased's benefit.

    Love, Mikie
  8. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    I think part of what you said is incorrect. See the SS link I posted above
    (http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/yourdivspouse.htm) It states in part:

    "•[if] the benefit on your record is a higher amount, he or she will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount (reduced for age)."

    The "your" in that statement is referring to the ex-spouse of one of us. It's a little confusing. But in any event, nowhere does it say anything about receiving half of that ex's benefits. It just states that the lower earning ex-spouse can receive benefits equal to the higher earning spouse.

    You're right, if an ex has died, the survivor is entitled to the ex's full benefits.

    Okay, I just found a link which talks about receiving one-half of a spouse's benefits:
    http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/175/session/L3RpbWUvMTM2NDY1ODkwNS9zaWQvajVvVGJ0bWw%3D

    This link refers to benefits a SPOUSE, not an EX-spouse can receive. And it appears that a spouse is eligible to receive one-half of their spouse's SS benefits if the first spouse has no retirement earnings of their own. If they do have retirement earnings, this section states that they will be entitled to either their own benefit or an amount equal to their spouse's, whichever is greater.

    So I think the one-half only applies when one of the spouses has earned no SS retirement (e.g., housewife who never worked). And when their spouse dies, yes, then they can get the full retirement benefit of their deceased spouse.

    It can be confusing but I think that's the way it works --

    Mary
  9. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    That's really good information to have. I thought that one's SS benefits would be affected by earnings, just like disability is.

    Although it makes sense - we earn our SS benefits (not talking about disability here), just like a pension, so it shouldn't be affected by earning more money.

    Thanks for the clarification!

    Mary
  10. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    Okay Mikie - one of my sisters says the same thing as you about only being entitled to one-half of an ex-spouse's benefits, until they die. But this isn't what the SS website links above say, so next week when I have the energy I'm going to do more research and probably contact SS myself, as I would like to know the correct answer --

    Mary
  11. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Active Member

    The government gets you! They tell you IF you wait to apply you'll get more $. But like the accountant said....how many people die before they collect.
  12. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    Hopefully this answers the question about whether an ex-spouse is only entitled to 1/2 of their ex-spouse's benefits on retirement age (for anyone who cares to read about this!)

    See: http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/divspouse.htm

    This is a new link. This link does say that as an ex-spouse you are entitled to one-half of your ex-spouse's full retirement amount if you start receiving benefits at full retirement age.

    HOWEVER - it goes on to state if you read the whole page,

    If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record we will pay that amount first. But if:

    the benefit on his or her record is a higher amount, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount (reduced for age).

    I will probably call SS anyways as I know two people now who don't believe this is true and I want to see what SS has to say about this.

    Mary

  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I think what that means is that if what you earned on your own doesn't equal half of what he is entitled to, they will make up the diff. In any case, you get half. If not, please let us know what you find out.

    I made enough so that my own SS is higher than half of what he gets in SS. I went through this with SS when I reached regular, not SSDI, age.

    Still, I'd like to know what you find out. Thanks.

    Love, Mikie
  14. kbak

    kbak Member

    Hi,
    Let me get this straight in my head. I had to quit working before I got enough points to qualify for SS. So by age 62 I can get SS based on what my husband earned? Is that correct?

    Thanks,
    kbak
  15. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    I will let you know what I find out. It's very confusing how it's written.

    It also seems to say that if your benefits based on your own earnings are less than your ex's, SS will make up the difference so that you receive the same amount as your ex. It doesn't state anything about 1/2 of their earnings in this section, although it states it earlier.

    I will contact SS and try to find out exactly what's going on.

    Mary

  16. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    I think that's what it means, but you will have to contact SS to find out for sure.

    According to how I read this, I will be eligible to receive SS benefits based on my ex-s earnings when I reach 62. However, if I wait an additional year and half when my ex actually retires, the benefits will be a couple of hundred dollars more, so it benefits me to wait. but if your ex is already retired, then it might make no difference to start receiving benefits at age 62.

    One more thing to consider though is whether what you receive will be less at 62 than if you wait until 65 or so to receive it. I don't know if waiting until you are 65 or so will increase the benefits you could receive based on your husband's earnings.

    I don't know the answers to all this, it is very confusing the way it's written, and urge you to contact SS on your own. I'm going to do the same and will post what I find out.

    Mary
  17. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    Okay - I talked to SS this morning. You are only entitled to 1/2 of an ex's SS benefits at full retirement age, so you will receive whichever is greater - your own benefit or 50% of your ex's.

    The language stating that SS will make up the difference between your benefits and what your ex receives just means that if your SS benefits are less than 50% of your ex's, then SS will increase your benefits to equal 50% of your ex's. This section is written very poorly on the website - it doesn't make clear that this is what they mean.

    Upon the death of an ex (after a marriage of more than 10 years), you are entitled to an amount equal to their full benefit, if it's more than you receive on your own.

    It's very confusing the way it's written. It appears that the people at the retirement seminar my sister went to even had it wrong.

    For what it's worth, the lady at SS was very knowledgable and helpful, which was encouraging if/when I need to deal with them again.

    Mary

  18. freida

    freida Active Member

    Well, I am sorry it isn't as benficial as we originally thought, from what you had found out from your sister's source,
    which was a reliable source.

    But it IS confusing, so people get it wrong, easily, I can see that.

    However, this last post of yours,
    seems to make it all much more comprehensible, to me, at least.

    I'm glad you got treated well and got good info from calling.

    You are also correct that it is written and worded confusingly,
    but you seem to have it well clarified here now.

    Good sleuthing job, Mary! :0)

    Again though, sorry it does not seem like it will benefit you,
    and many others,
    as much as we originally thought.

    I guess it does benefit those with the least, though. At least they can get something.

    Leah
    [This Message was Edited on 04/02/2013]
  19. mbofov

    mbofov Member

    At first I just thought Mikie was wrong, and then belatedly remembered that another sister of mine had told me the same thing, and I believe both Mikie and my sister had first-hand experience. So I thought I'd better look into it some more, am glad I did, though I wish they were wrong! :)

    And, as you said, at least it will benefit some people --

    Mary