Ask Larry

Did I Mess Up By Remarrying?

I just turned 53 and am collecting Social Security disability benefits (a very small check). My second husband (to which I'm still married) is almost 60.5 years old and is still working. He is set to retire at 66.5, so in another 6 years.

My first husband will be 54 in May. I'm pretty sure he makes more money than my second husband, though he's only a year older than I am, so I'm not sure if he has more in 'the pot' since he's younger than my second husband.

What do you suggest I do to maximize benefits? This is especially important since my second husband and I, though married, will be separating (no legal separation, just living apart), and my Social Security disability check is so small. Did I mess up by remarrying?


Well, you couldn't qualify for benefits on your first husband's record as long as you are remarried, but you wouldn't have been able to draw anything on his record until you are at least age 62 anyway, unless he were to die before then. But, the fact that you are now married to your second husband may permit you to receive benefits on his record in the future. And, if your remarriage ends in death or divorce and your first marriage lasted at least 10 years, then you may still qualify for divorced spousal benefits in the future.

It sounds like you're probably already receiving all you are eligible for from Social Security for the time being. Assuming that you remain married, you could potentially become eligible for additional spousal benefits when you reach age 62, but only if 50% of your husband's full retirement age rate (PIA) is higher than your full Social Security disability (SSDI) rate. But, if you are eligible for spousal benefits and you start drawing them prior to your full retirement age your spousal benefit rate will be reduced for age.

You may want to consider using our software at some point to explore your options and determine your best strategy for claiming benefits.

Best, Jerry

Feb 15 2018 - 7:08am
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