Can I Draw Benefits On My First Husband's Record?

Dec 10 2016 - 12:15pm

I was married to a man for 11 years who, when he passed away, was collecting SS. Since then I remarried, before the age of 60 and have been married, so far, for 13 years. My current husband is very ill and chances are I will survive him. I would like to collect on my first husbands SS when I become eligible since his amount is much greater than my second husbands. I've read that it is possible but have found no info on what makes it possible or how to go about achieving it.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's health problems.

If your husband dies, you could then become eligible for benefits on his record or your first husband's record, depending on your age. You must be at least age 60, or disabled and age 50, in order to be eligible for widow's or surviving divorced spousal benefits.

If you are also insured for benefits on your own record, that adds more possible options that you'll need to consider. You can essentially only draw one benefit at a time, but it may be advantageous for you to apply for reduced benefits on one record first, and then switch to a different record later. You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website before making any decisions with regard to filing for benefits.

Regarding the actual application process, you can file for benefits with Social Security by phone or in person. You can initiate the process by calling 1-800-772-1213, or you can contact the office nearest you. In some cases, you can also file online through Social Security's website, ssa.gov. Social Security will let you know what documentation is required in order to process your claim, but in the case of surviving divorced spousal benefits, you will be required to submit at least your divorce decree.

Best, Jerry