Can I Draw Benefits On My First Husband's Record At Age 64 And Switch To My Own Record At Age 66?

Sep 11 2017 - 2:23pm

I turned 64 in Aug and have seriously considered early retirement and filing for SS in January due to inability to work FT any longer. I do not qualify for disability. I was married the first time for 28 years and my ex's reported income was less than mine, due to his self employment status where he hid half of his income. He will be 66 in October, has not started drawing SS and is remarried. I remarried at age 56 but divorced at age 58. My second husband was a high wage earner. I was advised by the SS Administration that since I earned more than my first husband, drawing from his benefits is not recommended. Since my second marriage lasted less than 2 years I am not eligible for any benefits there. My question. Can I still draw from my first husband at the 50% rate and wait until I am 66 to draw my own full benefits? (We are still friends and he did share with me that his benefits would only be around 1300 a month at age 66). And, does my second marriage nullify any potential benefits from my first husband. I have calculated my own benefits starting at 64 for 20 years and it will be the same amount if I were to wait until 66 to draw the full amount (18 years) until age 84. Only after 84 will I see any additional benefit. Any advice is appreciated.


No, you can't. Your second marriage doesn't nullify your ability to file for divorced spousal benefits on your first husband's record, but if you file for divorced spousal benefits prior to your full retirement age of 66 you will be deemed to have also filed for reduced retirement benefits on your own record. In that case, you would only receive essentially the higher of the 2 benefit rates, and your benefit amount would be reduced for age.

Since you were born before January 2 1954, you do have the option of filing just for divorced spousal benefits only at age 66 and allowing your own benefit rate to grow until age 70. That may well be your best option if your financial circumstances permit waiting. You may want to strongly consider using the maximization software available on this website to compare all of your options and determine your best course of action.

Best, Jerry