Ask Larry

How Much Will I Be Able To Receive?

I am a divorcee and married to my ex spouse for 25 years. My ex spouse abused me physically and emotionally for years. He was arrested for family violence.
I did not work (employed) for about 12 years while I raised our daughter. My ex husband is still living and is 62 years old. I am 63 years old. I am hoping that I will not need to claim benefits until my full retirement age of 62 yrs and 2 months (born 12.16.1957).

What social security benefits will I be eligible for?

By the way I read on the Federal Social Security benefit website that I would also qualify for not only my social security benefits but also my ex spouses benefits due to his abyse of me (his benefits due to the fact that I am an abused ex spouse).

Again, can u please verify and let me know what my total social security benefits will be, and what specifically I should claim (ie my benefits, his benefits, additional benefits when he dies, etc).

Thank you in advance for your guidance!

Hi. I'm sorry to hear about the abuse you suffered, but that wouldn't affect the amount of Social Security benefits that you could be paid. First I should note that if you were born December 16 1957, your full retirement age (FRA) for retirement and/or divorced spousal benefits would at age 66 1/2 (i.e. June 2024). If you claim benefits at that time, you'll be paid the higher of your own primary insurance amount (PIA) or 50% of your ex-spouse's 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).

You can't collect both your own benefits and a full divorced spousal benefit at the same time. Nor could you claim retirement benefits without simultaneously claiming divorced spousal benefits, and vice versa. If 50% of your ex's PIA is higher than your own PIA, you'll be paid your own benefit rate plus a partial divorced spousal benefit. The 2 benefits would then add up to 50% of your ex's PIA assuming that you don't claim benefits prior to FRA.

If your ex-spouse dies before you, you could then be paid up to the higher of your own benefit rate or your survivor rate. Your potential unreduced survivor rate would depend in part on when your ex starts drawing his benefits, but it would essentially amount to at least the full amount that he was receiving at the time of his death. Or, 100% of his PIA if he hasn't yet claimed his benefits when he dies.

I can't give you any dollar amounts without knowing your and your ex's full yearly earnings history. Our software ( would enable you to calculate your own benefit rate, but you'll need to contact Social Security to find out how much you may qualify for as a divorced spouse.

Best, Jerry

May 22 2021 - 6:38pm
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