Can I Switch To Drawing On My Ex-Spouse's Record If He Dies Before Me?

Jul 18 2017 - 7:07am

If I have started collecting SS benefits on my own record, if ex spouse dies, can I go to Ss and change my benefit to widows' benefit? We were married 25 years, and my benefit was more than using his, when he was alive, and I started collecting. Thank you. Mary

Hi Mary,

Essentially, yes. Assuming that your ex's benefit rate is higher than your own and you meet the requirements for surviving divorced spousal benefits when he dies, you could receive up to the full difference between your ex's benefit rate and your own benefit rate. That amount would then be added to your own benefit rate to bring your combined benefit rate up to his full rate. And, if your ex started drawing his benefits at age 62, it's possible that your combined rate could even be a bit more than the rate he was receiving. But, if you aren't yet full retirement age when you start drawing surviving divorced spousal benefits, your rate would be reduced for age.

Best, Jerry