Author Topic: Complicated Social Security question  (Read 3263 times)

frugaldrummer

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Complicated Social Security question
« on: October 08, 2013, 12:14:07 AM »
I have a question that I have not been able to find the answer to online, perhaps someone here knows the answer?

I'm 57, divorced, and was married for 24 years.  When I turn 66, I believe I can draw SS based on my ex husband's earnings (he will only be turning 62 then).  This would be the spousal benefit, which is only half, but he is a very high wage earner so it would be half of the maximum.  This may (or may not) end up being higher than my own benefit, since I took many years out of the workforce to raise our children and do not earn nearly as much as he does.

But my question is this: 
What happens if I remain single until age 66, start drawing SS based on my ex's income, and then later remarry?  Can I continue drawing the SS based on my ex's amount?  And could my new spouse then draw a spousal benefit based on MY work history?

footenote

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 06:23:18 AM »
Here's a recap of some of the rules you are asking about:
http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20130401/BLOG05/130409999#

SSA says you can claim on your ex-husband's record (half). (Although they will not provide his earnings history to you.)

Read SSA's FAQs on the topic and call your local office if you can't find the particulars: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/list/c/3,62

MrsPete

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 07:46:30 AM »
I've read up on Social Security rules, and I'm convinced of two things:  1) the rules are complicated.  2) once you start drawing your benefit, you can never change it; thus, you'd better get it right.  Also, the rules are subject to change. 

My husband and I have decided that when we're older and eligible for Social Security, we're going to spend the money to see a Social Security specialist (lawyer?  tax attorney?  uncertain of exactly who) to make sure we're doing the right thing.  We've been forced to invest significant money in this scheme over the years, and we aren't completely sure we'd make the right decision on our own.  This is only the second time in our whole adult lives we've felt that we needed professional financial advice and have felt uncertain of our own research.

giggles

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 09:45:13 AM »
You are free to remarry if your ex is deceased and you marry after the age of 60.

If he is still alive, you will lose the benefit if you remarry. 

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/299/~/qualifying-for-divorced-spouse-benefits

Your situation with you collecting on your ex, while your new spouse collects on you thus could not exisit since you would not be able to collect on your ex if you remarried.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 09:58:40 AM by giggles »

Numbers Man

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2013, 09:59:44 AM »
I think this article clearing illustrates the OP's Social Security options:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/09/us-column-miller-socialsecurity-divorce-idUSBRE94810120130509

frugaldrummer

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 10:00:48 AM »
Boy, they go out of their way to make it obscure, don't they?

Elsewhere on the SSA site I've read that you must be single when you file for benefits, but it doesn't say that you will lose them if you marry after that.

This does seem to imply that that would be the case though.


Numbers Man

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 10:17:38 AM »
They don't make it easy. In fact, one of my friends told me that the social security workers at the social security office are forbidden to tell people what would be the best option. That's our government agency at work.

Jamesqf

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 12:08:42 PM »
...the social security workers at the social security office are forbidden to tell people what would be the best option.

From what I've read, that's because the regulations are so complex that no social security worker could ever be sure just what the best option is.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Complicated Social Security question
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 12:15:27 PM »
But apparently, if my ex kicks the bucket, I can collect on his social security and then remarry without losing it.