Expensive Readers,
Two weeks in the past, I answered a query from a lady who wished to know if she wanted her ex-husband’s permission to assert his Social Safety advantages. (In case you missed it, the answer is no.) Practically 300 of you emailed me with follow-up questions on exes and Social Safety. So right now, let’s deal with just a few extra collectively … with the caveat that for the trickiest questions, the reply is “Name the Social Safety workplace.”


So are you telling me my husband’s ex-wife can truly get my husband’s Social Safety advantages whereas I’m nonetheless married to him? Do I’ve to combat her for this Social Safety? He makes greater than I do, and if he handed, I’d want that cash to reside on. 

There’s no must combat over this man or his Social Safety. Whereas your husband is alive, all three of you’ll be able to declare based mostly on his work report. If he dies, each you and his ex-wife can gather. Her Social Safety choices have completely no influence in your advantages or your husband’s.

I’ve been married 3 times. All three marriages lasted 10 years or longer. Would I qualify for all three advantages, or would I select the one that may profit me the very best? 

You’ll be able to solely declare one individual’s profit, however you don’t should do the guesswork to make this choice. Merely name Social Safety and ask them whose report gives you the very best profit. Should you’d qualify for cash based mostly by yourself report, that’s what you’ll get. After all, I’m assuming that whenever you say you’ve been married 3 times that you just’ve additionally been divorced 3 times. Should you’re nonetheless married, you’ll be able to’t declare on an ex’s report.

After I flip 60, I can declare my deceased husband’s Social Safety. As his widow, will I get the complete quantity or 50%?

First, an FYI for these studying: In contrast to common Social Security benefits, which require you to attend till you’re 62, you can begin survivor advantages at 60, or age 50 in case you’re disabled. However as with common advantages, you’ll get extra in case you wait. You’ll obtain 71.5% of his full retirement profit in case you begin at 60. Wait till your full retirement age, which is 67 in case you had been born in 1960 or later, and also you’ll get 100% of his profit.

I’m 65 and was married to a person for 40 years. We divorced 9 years in the past. I’ve been drawing my Social Safety and a portion of his Social Safety. He remarried six years in the past. When he dies, will I obtain extra Social Safety if I’m nonetheless alive?

Probably. The utmost you’ll be able to gather from a residing present or ex-spouse is 50% of their full profit. (As you describe, Social Safety provides you no matter you qualify for based mostly by yourself report after which makes use of the ex-spouse’s report to get to the 50% most.) However so long as you’re eligible for divorce advantages now, it’s best to qualify for survivor advantages if he dies earlier than you. Like widowed spouses, surviving ex-spouse’s can get wherever from 71.5% to 100% of the deceased partner’s full retirement profit, relying on once they declare.

My sister’s husband died all of the sudden somewhat over a month in the past. She is 65. Since she paid into her county pension plan most of her grownup life, she solely will get a really small Social Safety profit from jobs she labored previous to her profession. Nevertheless, her husband did pay into Social Safety his whole life, so his profit is increased. She referred to as Social Safety and was instructed she’s not eligible for survivor advantages due to her pension. I’m involved that she could not have understood appropriately since she’s in a lot grief.

I’m so sorry for your loved ones’s loss. For individuals like your sister who’ve pensions and didn’t pay into Social Safety, a rule referred to as the Authorities Pension Offset applies. If you declare Social Safety spousal or survivor advantages, two-thirds of your month-to-month pension cost might be deducted from the Social Safety cost. So in case your sister receives $3,000 a month from her pension, $2,000 could be deducted from her survivor profit. If she would usually have certified for a $2,500 survivor profit, she’d get $500 a month from Social Safety. But when the survivor profit is lower than $2,000, sadly, she wouldn’t qualify for something as a result of her pension would utterly offset the profit.

I’ve been married since 1992. We by no means divorced, and I’ve by no means remarried… properly, as a result of I by no means was divorced. Folks inform me to remain married to him so I can draw his Social Safety when and if he passes earlier than I do, however he actually by no means labored a lot anyway. I assume I need to know if I ought to simply divorce him?

I can’t let you know whether or not it’s best to divorce this man. What I can say is that whether or not you keep otherwise you go, it received’t make a distinction to your survivor advantages.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected].