How Do I Restrict My Application To Divorced Spousal Benefits Only?

Mar 23 2017 - 7:30am

Divorced Spousal Benefit: I will reach FRA in July 2017 (born 1951). Ex-spouse is same age. Divorced for more than two years. Married for more than 10 years. Never remarried. I intend to filed for Divorced Spousal Benefits, and to not claim benefits on my record until age 70. I have seen your various comments about the notations to make in the Remarks section, but still have some uncertainty. Questions: 1) Does application make it crystal clear that I am "suspending" my benefits? 2) Our incomes were about the same, over the same working years. Does this affect my eligibility? 3) Can I apply ahead of time, but state a future date for the benefit, i.e., my 66th birthday? 4) Does the online application provide for this type of benefit and, if so, is there risk to doing so online? I do not want to have any error with respect to the filing for my full retirement claim. Thank you.


First off, you don't want to suspend your own benefits when you file for divorced spousal benefits. That would defeat the purpose of filing a restricted application. What you want to do instead is to restrict retirement benefits on your own record from the scope of your application for divorced spousal benefits. You may then file a separate application for retirement benefits when you reach age 70. Virtually all Social Security applications state in their heading that the application is for ALL benefits to which the applicant may be entitled. Thus the need to restrict retirement benefits from the scope of your application when you apply for divorced spousal benefits.

Your earnings and potential benefit rate in relation to your ex-wife's earnings and benefit rate will not affect your eligibility for divorced spousal benefits, unless and until you file for your retirement benefits. You can apply up to 4 months prior to the month that you wish to claim benefits, and you should be able to file online. Just be sure to specify the month that you reach age 66 as your month of election to become entitled to divorced spousal benefits. And, be sure to make it clear that you do not want your application to be considered as an application for retirement benefits on your own record. In the remarks section, you can include a statement such as 'I wish to restrict retirement benefits on my own record from the scope of this application.', or 'I wish to restrict the scope of this application to divorced spousal benefits only.'

Best, Jerry