Can My Singaporean Wife Collect On My Work Record?

Jun 3 2016 - 10:15am

I'm 65, born and raised in the US. My wife, age 41, is a Singapore citizen. She was granted US permanent residency just after our 1998 marriage. She has been a full time homemaker and mother to our two children, ever since, so she had no US income over the years. We have always filed our taxes jointly. Will she qualify for widow social security benefits from my account? I'm concerned about her status as a non US citizen?

Dear Sir,

Not only is your wife eligible for widows benefits if you die starting at 60 (50 if she is disabled), she can also collect spousal benefits starting at 62 while you are still alive. If she is not disabled, taking either benefit before her full retirement age will lead it to be permanently reduced. If she is disabled, taking a widows benefit early will lead to a reduced benefit, but only through full retirement age provided she started receiving disability benefits before you died. If that's the case, the reduction of the widows benefit ends at full retirement age, after which she receives a full widows benefit.

best, Larry