Can My Ex-Wife Get Any Of My Benefits While I'm Alive?

Feb 19 2019 - 11:36am

I am now 66 and collect SS and disability of about $2,500 per month. My ex wife is now 61 and still working likely making over $150k per year. We have been divorced for years but we never remarried. We we only married 13 years. My question is can she ever get any of my benefit while alive, can I get any of her benefit at this time, and can I remarry to make sure my benefit doesn't go to Uncle Sam in the event of my death as I have cancer. Thank you.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear about your illness.

Your ex-wife couldn't qualify for divorced spousal benefits during your lifetime unless your primary insurance amount (PIA) is more than twice as much as her PIA. Based on her rate of earnings, that sounds unlikely. And, you couldn't qualify for divorced spousal benefits on your ex's record unless she's drawing her benefits or is at least age 62, and her PIA is more than twice as much as your PIA.

However, if you die before your ex-wife reaches full retirement age (FRA) she could potentially draw surviving divorced spousal benefits while allowing her own benefit rate to grow until age 70. That would be true even if you remarry.

If you do remarry, your new wife could potentially qualify for spousal benefits after you've been married for at least a year, provided that she's at least age 62 and isn't eligible for higher benefits on her own record. And, if you remarry and then die, your new wife could potentially qualify for widow's benefits if your marriage has lasted for at least 9 months at the time of your death.

Best, Jerry