Am I Due More Social Security From My Ex-Husband's Record?

Sep 24 2018 - 8:58am

I will be 65 in March 2019. I started to take Social Security Jan. 2018. I was married 25 years to an Orthopaedic Surgeon. Presently I am getting an additional an approx. $300/mo from that marriage to my $717.00/mo Social Secuity check. I was recently told I should be getting more(half of my ex-spouses S.S. benefits). Is that true? I am retired and from the my assests and investments getting $3,500.00/mo. If I am due more from my Ex-spouses S.S. benefits how can I apply for it? I was never given this information when I signed up for benefits at my my local S.S. office and the emplyoees at this office did not seem to know much about being able to pull benefits from a former spouse.


I can't say for sure, but you're probably getting your correct benefit amount. When you file for benefits prior to full retirement age (FRA), you are required to file for both retirement benefits on your own record and for spousal or divorced spousal benefits if you qualify. Your own retirement benefit, which is your primary benefit, is calculated and paid first. If you also qualify for spousal or divorced spousal benefits, those are paid as a partial secondary benefit.

For example, say Sally files for benefits at age 65. Sally's own full retirement age benefit amount (PIA, or primary insurance amount) would be $800, but she chooses to take a reduced rate of $746 at age 65. Sally's ex-husband is over age 62 and has a full retirement age rate (PIA) of $2200, so she qualifies for additional benefits as a divorced spouse. Sally's unreduced divorced spousal benefit amount is calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of her ex's PIA, which in this example is $300 (i.e. $2200/2 - $800). However, that rate is reduced to $275 because Sally starts drawing early at age 65. Therefore, Sally's combined benefit rate is $1021 (i.e. $746 + $275).

If you're already receiving divorced spousal benefits then you have already applied for them. You can't apply again but if you think that you're not getting the correct amount you may be able to file an appeal with Social Security. But, as I said before, you're most likely already getting the correct amount.

Best, Jerry