Can I Collect Divorced Spousal Benefits On My First Husband's Record If I Get Divorced From My Second Husband?

Feb 16 2018 - 6:39am

I have read GET WHAT'S YOURS, revised edition. I still have some questions to ensure I make the best decisions. I am legally separated from my second husband. I know in the eyes of S.S. this is still considered being married. The reason for being legally separated rather than divorced is strictly for health care coverage provided by my husbands employer. The plan is to divorce when I qualify for medicare when I turn 66 y 4m. I am currently 61. My 2nd husband is currently 63 and intends to wait until 70 to draw SS benefits. I know that I can receive spousal benefits and I am able to wait until FRA to do that. The problem is, if I don't divorce until FRA, I would have to wait 2 years after FRA to collect ex-spousal benefits. If I divorce before FRA, I will not have health insurance without paying for it myself in full. My first husband, whom I was married to for 10+ years, is also an option for me to receive ex-spousal benefits. Both my first and second husbands benefits at FRA, calculated to spousal benefits (50%) would be higher than my own full benefits at FRA. QUESTION #1 When I turn FRA, get divorced and start receiving medicare coverage but have to wait 2 years to collect spousal benefits from my second husband, can I collect ex-spousal benefits from my first husband for those first 2 years and then switch to collect on my 2nd ex-husband? My second ex-husband will have a higher SS benefit than my first husband. My second question is in regard to Child In Care and Child benefits. My 2nd husband and I have 1 child that is currently 11 years old. When we are actually divorced, (at my full retirement age, ) can I apply for either child in care or child benefits if my ex-husband has not yet applied for SS benefits? Also, how is it defined that a child is disabled? Our son is adopted and was considered a "special needs adoption" by the state of wisconsin. We receive monthly payments from the state because he was a special needs adoption but he does not receive any federal funds for disability.
I would truly appreciate a response and help in making some important decisions.
Thank you

Hi,

First off, you can qualify for Medicare coverage at age 65 even if your full retirement age (FRA) for Social Security benefits is 66 & 4 months.

The answer to your first question is yes, you could potentially qualify for divorced spousal benefits on your first husband's record if you get divorced from your second husband. You would need to meet all of the other requirements for benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.03/handbook-0311.html), but there would be no waiting period after your divorce is final. You could then potentially switch to your second husband's record when you meet the entitlement requirements for those benefits.

Regarding your second question, your child can't qualify for benefits on your husband's record until he starts drawing his benefits. This is true whether you divorce or not. Nor could you be eligible for child in care spousal benefits until your husband starts drawing his benefits since your child would need to be drawing benefits in order for you to qualify.

The Social Security requirements for childhood disability benefits are:
•The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and
•The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.

Social Security disabled child's benefits aren't paid prior to age 18 since a disability isn't required in order for a minor child to qualify for benefits on a parent's record. However, Social Security also administers a needs based program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which can pay benefits to disabled children who aren't yet age 18 (https://www.ssa.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits_child_factsheet.htm).

Best, Jerry