Hypothetical but Wondering

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Two Questions:

1. Can an exwife collect social security benefits of the exhusband without some prior legal agreement if they hadd been married 10+ years?
2. Can a wife who is collecting ss also collect the ss of their deceased spouse or do they collect the larger amount of the 2.

Thanks for clarification.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

#1 is yes ~ even without prior legal agreement and the ex does not even know.

#2 is the larger amount.

If I am not mistaken, I feel certain both answers are correct. Now, just wait... someone will come along and show me how ignorant I am... LOL

Barnesville, GA(Zone 7b)

Someone may correct me, however, I think the #1 answer is if you do not remarry.

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

Bug you are right. If you remarry you cannot draw on the ex. BEV

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the info.

Olympia, WA

Here is what SS told me -

I have been married twice
I have been divorced twice

I am on SS

When my first ex husband dies, I was told to check back w/ SS as I may get more by claiming as a survivor on his than on my own. He IS remarried.

Second ex husband never earned enough.
Second ex husband has passed on...he could have drawn on mine had he lived

The important thing to know about what an ex can get from their former spouse's SS credit is that it does NOT affect that spouse's SS funds what so ever.

If one had 3 spouses - married to each for 10 years plus - all 3 could draw on the same person w/o affecting that person ........

am I making sense?

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

That makes some sense, but what about the married again. If you were married then divorced, then again how can you now go back and collect on the first marriage? Are you saying that even though remarried, if now widowed you can collect on first spouse if more than you would draw on your own?

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

If that first spouse has passed on. BEV

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

I meant passed away.

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

This is what I have been told,and people are telling me that they are drawing 2 and 3 SS checks and I don't know how that is possible. BEV

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I think receiving 2 or 3 would be fraudulent. As I understand, you can only receive one but it can be drawn on the highest earner so you will net the most.

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

Thats what I think but was also told that you can draw yours plus half of spouse upon thier death. BEV

Olympia, WA

Nope - it is an either/or -

as in my case - when my first ex passes away, if I am still around - I should check w/ SS because his benefits for long term spouse may be greater than mine is for myself. His income WAS considerably more than mine .........

so I get either my own
or his

whichever is greater - but it is still only one SS check per person

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the clarification.

Warwick, RI(Zone 6a)

WANNADANC, I'm wondering why he has to die before you can collect on his benefits. Does it have something to do with being married a second time? My sister is collecting on her first ex and he is still alive. She was married to her second ex less than 10 yrs.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I believe the law in maryland is that once you remarry you lose the right to the first spousal income, if you stay single then you can get it if married over 10 years.
Emmy interesting that your sister is collecting and was married twice?

Nilwood, IL(Zone 5b)

I didn't think the states had anything to do with SS it is FED???? BEV

Clay Center, KS(Zone 5b)

This is from the Social Security website: (somewhat confusing!!)

How does a divorced spouse qualify for benefits?

A person can receive benefits as a divorced spouse on a former spouse’s Social Security record if he or she:

* was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years;
* is at least age 62 years old;
* is unmarried;
* is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

In addition, the former spouse must be entitled to receive his or her own retirement or disability benefit. If the former spouse is eligible for a benefit, but has not yet applied for it, the divorced spouse can still receive a benefit if he or she meets the eligibility requirements above and has been divorced from the former spouse for at least two years.

Generally, benefits cannot continue to be paid if the divorced spouse remarries someone other than the former spouse, unless the latter marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment), or the marriage is to a person entitled to certain types of Social Security auxiliary or survivor's benefits.
A person can receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse on the Social Security record of a former spouse who died fully insured, if he or she:

* is at least age 60, or age 50 and disabled;
* was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years; and
* is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

If the surviving divorced spouse age 60 or over applying for benefits remarried after age 60, or after age 50 and at the time of remarriage was entitled to disability benefits, the marriage is disregarded. If a person is already entitled to benefits as an aged or disabled surviving divorced spouse and remarries, benefits continue regardless of the person's age at the time of remarriage.

The benefits paid to a divorced spouse or a surviving divorced spouse will not affect the benefit amount paid to other family members who receive benefits on the same record.

If you would like to receive an estimate of benefits you may receive as a divorced spouse or a surviving divorced spouse, you may contact our representatives at our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. They may be able to provide you with this information over the telephone. If you prefer, you may visit one of our offices. You can get the address and directions to your nearest office from the Social Security Office Locator that is available on the Internet.

Waterman, IL(Zone 5a)

That's really scarey. This means my divorced, bum of a brother, who left his wife with 2 kids, (one a new born) 26 years ago, can tap into my ex SIL's hard earned benefits. I'm pretty sure they were married for 10 years and neither have ever remarried. He never paid a dime in child support or ever had a job to get his own SS benefits. I wouldn't put it past him to try. He's desperate for money and will be 62 next year. Somehow that "just ain't right"!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, it won't affect hers at all. And that is what this country is about. No matter how sorry one is, we will take care of 'em.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)


If your bum of a brother never paid into the system to have SS benefits, he won't get any of his own, but he might reap benefits of your ex SIL. He will have to prove also when he was legally married and when he was legally divorced. The SS issue is not dependent on the child support issue.

Karin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

And that last sentence Ibelieve is something that should be looked at: they garnish wages of people who don't pay child support, but then hand them a SS check from my taxpayer's money? That is just WRONG!

Olympia, WA

* is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

Emmy C - this is why I am not drawing any from his right now .... my full amount from my own work is greater than it would be from his as I would not get as much as a "former spouse." However, when he dies, it may be that as a quasi-widow, I would receive more. They can't tell right now, but should he pass before I do, I am advised to check it out.

Warwick, RI(Zone 6a)

Haighr, yes my sister was married twice and is collecting on her 1st husband's account. Maybe it's allowed because her second marriage was less than 10 yrs? She had to get records of marriage & divorce on both marriages.

Wannadanc, thanks for explaining it to me. I've just never heard of death being a factor in the amount of the benefit. I was surprised to learn that I was allowed to collect at 60 because I was a widow, so I guess we just don't hear of certain features if they don't apply to us.

West Warren, MA

SS is not 'for' the workers!!
My husband died and I had to get the higher of the 2 and since I worked for the State of Ma., the SS I paid in ( I do have over 40 quarters) to before my state job I was cut down over 1/2. They call it the WEP ( winfall elimination program )!
DUH ! I WORKED and paid into SS myself !! So now I get less than what I should really be getting and I have worked since my teens !!!
I should have stayed home !!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

That is screwy!

TX has an odd one too. The TX state teachers assn has their own retirement, opting out of SS. You obviously can't draw SS, however if your spouse dies, you can't even draw on their SS unless you pay into SS. IMO one should at least be eligible for the spouses' SS.

West Warren, MA

If you, like I did, worked 2 jobs. One for retirement with no SS taken out and other job paid SS, should you not be able to collect on the SS one also??
This was not right!!

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I should certainly have thought so...

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