Ask Larry

Can You Explain Why I Was Told That I Can't File On My Ex-Husband's Account Until He Dies?

I filed for SS at age 62. My ex just turned 62 this year. I am told because I filed at age 62 that I am no longer able to file on his now and can only file when he dies. I am real confused. Help would be appreciated. Thank you

Hi. You CAN APPLY for divorced spousal benefits, but as long as your ex-spouse is still living you'll only be eligible for them if 50% of your ex-spouse's primary insurance amount (PIA) is more than your own PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

Surviving divorced spousal benefits, unlike divorced spousal benefits, can amount to as much as the deceased worker's full benefit rate or 100% of his or her PIA. Therefore, if your PIA is between 50% and 100% of your ex's PIA then you may qualify for survivor benefits ( even if you don't qualify for divorced spousal benefits.

I don't have enough information to know whether or not you qualify for divorced spousal benefits, but if you believe that you may qualify for them you can contact Social Security and insist on filing an application. You would then have appeal rights if you believe that the determination is wrong. The requirements for divorced spousal benefits are outlined in the following section of Social Security's handbook:

Best, Jerry

May 31 2022 - 12:50pm
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.