Will My Remarriage(s) Disqualify Me From Getting Surviving Divorced Spousal Benefits?

Dec 4 2016 - 9:45am

I was married to my first husband for 27 years. We divorced in 2008 when I was 52, and I remarried that same year. I subsequently divorced my second spouse 2+ years later in 2011. I was 54 at the time. My first husband has since passed away. I am currently unmarried, and have reached the age of 60. I found out a couple of years ago about the deceased widow(er) situation, and knew that not remarrying before age 60 would mean I could collect divorced widow benefits on my first husband's record.

Here is my question: My second spouse and I have reconciled and would like to remarry. Obviously, I will be over 60 for this marriage, so it should not keep me from collecting the divorced widow benefits, unless there is some other issue involved because it is the same person I previously divorced. Note that I have never read anything to suggest this, but a friend lawyer said the "department," by which I believe he meant the Social Security department, might look upon my divorce in 2011 as a means to trick the system or something like that, and deny a claim. He did say they would have to "prove" that we divorced solely to gain benefits.

Is this true? We did not, in fact, divorce for that reason, but even if we had, is that a factor? Is this something that would even come up when I go to apply for benefits (likely when I am 63 or 64, when I retire from work)?

Thank you.

Hi,

No, Social Security will not be concerned with the reason for your divorce. In order for you to qualify for surviving divorced spousal benefits, you must be either unmarried, or your current remarriage must have occurred at or after the date you reached age 60. It's irrelevant whether or not you were previously married and divorced from the person you remarried after reaching age 60.

Based on the information in your question, it sounds like you have several options with regard to Social Security benefits. You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to be sure that you choose the best option.

Best, Jerry