Can I Collect From My Ex-Husband's Social Security?

Dec 19 2016 - 2:30pm

I am 72 years old. Started collecting SS at 62 (now $707) I was married for 18 years and I am divorced for 32 years.
Can I collect from my ex husband SS? At this time they are paying me $80 from his SS. He worked for 25 years for a large company making really good money. How is it that I am getting only $80?
How I apply?
Thank you

Hi,

If Social Security is paying you $80 a month from your ex-husband's record, then it sounds like you are already receiving all that you can currently get from his account. Since you are also drawing benefits on your own record, your excess divorced spousal benefit would be calculated starting with 50% of your ex-husband's full retirement age benefit amount (PIA), and then subtracting your own full retirement age rate.

If you started drawing your benefits at age 62, the amount that you are receiving on your own record is about 75% of your full retirement age rate. Therefore, if you're receiving a reduced retirement benefit of $707, your full retirement age rate is probably around $940, which in turn would be roughly the amount deducted from 50% of you ex-husband's full rate in determining your excess divorced spousal benefit. Plus, if you started drawing the excess divorced spousal benefit prior to your full retirement age, that benefit would also be reduced for age.

So, that's the basic explanation for why you are not receiving much in the way of a divorced spousal benefit, even though your ex-husband's full retirement age rate is apparently in excess of $2000 per month. But, if your ex-husband dies before you, you would then become eligible for a total benefit equal to roughly the full amount that he was drawing at the time of his death. And, since you are apparently already drawing a small excess divorced spousal benefit from his record, no application would be needed in order for you to start receiving the higher surviving divorced spousal rate at that time.

Best, Jerry