Can I Collect On My Former Husband's Record?

Apr 18 2017 - 7:25am

I was born in Feb 1952. My former husband was born in July 1952. We were married for more than 10 years. He is still living. I have not applied for social security. Please know that my age 66 retirement benefit would be greater than the "half benefit" I would receive by collecting on my former husband. When I reach my full retirement age of 66 in Feb 2018, I would like to begin collecting on my former husband. Should I wait until my former husband reaches full retirement age in July 2018 rather than start collecting in Feb 2018? I would like to collect on my former husband from 66 to 70 and then collect on myself. As I was born before January 2, 1954, I think I have the option to collect my divorced spouse's benefit and delay receiving my retirement benefit. Can I collect on my former husband? If I collect on my former husband beginning at age 66, will I get my "age 70 benefit" at age 70 or will I get my "age 66 benefit" at age 70? Your help is appreciated!


Yes, as long as you aren't remarried it sounds like you would be able to file just for divorced spousal benefits when you reach age 66. You can then switch to your own record at age 70, at which time your retirement benefit rate will be 32% higher than it would be if you started drawing your retirement benefits at full retirement age (FRA). This is likely to be your best filing strategy, but you may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to be sure.

You would not want to wait past age 66 to start drawing your divorced spousal benefits, since your benefit rate will be unreduced at that time. Unreduced divorced spousal benefits are paid at a rate of 50% of the worker's full retirement age rate even if the worker hasn't yet reached full retirement age. The worker does need to be at least age 62 or drawing benefits in order for divorced spousal benefits to be payable, though.

Best, Jerry