Can I Get Benefits From Any Of My Ex's?

Sep 9 2019 - 7:15am

Can I collect Social security from any of these men? Help me figure it out..

I am 69 Retired at 65, 2015 from US Postal Service. after 29 years of service. I receive CRS Postal Pension and 1/2 of my social security benefits.

I divorced EX # 1 after 1 year (1971). He died at age 64 ( 2 months shy of 65).

I remarried 3 years later (1974). #2 is 74 now retired. receiving Social Security
I divorced EX #2 after 30 years( 2004).

Married EX # 3 Nov 21,2008. He died 7 months later on May 21, 2009. He was 69, retired. He had worked 30 yrs for US Army at Dugway Proving Grounds in Ut as a civilian employee. Then he worked for Utah County School District. I receive $130.00 Utah state retirement annuity for his school District job. but not Social Security. I don't get his Government pension either.

Married Ex #4 Oct 24. 2009. Divorced 6 years later Oct 24, 2015. He 81now and retired at 65. Can I get his Social security?

I now live with Ex #2. Can I get his Social Security when He dies?

Hi,

It sounds like ex #2 is your only possibility. You were married less than 10 years and divorced from ex's #1 & #4, so you weren't married long enough to qualify on their records. It doesn't sound like #3 was insured for Social Security benefits, in which case no survivor benefits would be payable on his record. Also, you likely would need to have been married to him for at least 9 months to potentially qualify for widow's benefits unless his death could be classified as accidental. I can only address Social Security benefits, though, so I can't tell you whether or not you might qualify for any other types of benefits.

With regard to ex #2, as long as he's still living you could only even technically qualify for benefits on his account if 50% of his primary insurance amount (PIA) is higher than your PIA. A person's PIA is equal to the amount of their Social Security retirement benefit if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA).

If ex #2's PIA is more than twice as much as your PIA, your potential excess divorced spousal benefit rate would be calculated by subtracting your PIA from 50% of ex #2's PIA. However, if you didn't pay Social Security taxes on your USPS earnings then any divorced spousal benefits you qualify for would likely be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of your civil service pension. That's because of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision. For more information about GPO and it's exceptions, refer to the following Social Security publication: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf.

If GPO would apply to your divorced spousal benefits while your ex is living, then it would also apply to any surviving divorced spousal benefits for which you might qualify in the event of your ex's death. Your surviving divorced spousal benefit rate would likely be calculated by subtracting your benefit rate at the time of your ex's death from his benefit rate at the time of his death. But again, if you didn't pay Social Security taxes on the earnings on which your civil service pension is based then 2/3rds of the amount of your civil service pension would likely be subtracted from any surviving divorced spousal benefits for which you'd otherwise qualify.

Best, Jerry