How Much Will I Receive As A Divorced Spouse?

Mar 23 2017 - 7:15am

Hi Larry,
I'm 56, and my x-spouse is 69 (soon to turn 70). We were married for 22 years and have been divorced since 2012.
I have read that I can receive his social security benefits , but am still confused about a couple of things, which are critical (recognize that my social security benefits will be much less than his, whether it is calculated from 50% or 100% of his amount due.
Here are the details, and the questions:
1. As an X spouse of greater than 10 years, do I receive 100% or 50% of his benefit while he is alive? or does this depend on whether he has passed away or not (as an X-spouse)?
2. He is waiting til he turns 70 before he takes his soc security (so 132% I believe at that time, he was born in 1947); will my percentage be from his 132% or? when I reach my full retirement age, or do I need to wait til I'm 70? or?
Thank you!

Hi Heather,

While your ex-husband is living, the most that you could receive is 50% of his full retirement age rate (PIA). However, if he dies before you, you could be eligible for up to his full benefit rate inclusive of delayed retirement credits, which would work out to 132% of his PIA if he waits until age 70 to start drawing his benefits.

You must wait until you are full retirement age (FRA) to start drawing, which is likely 67 in your case, in order to be eligible for the full rates shown above. You could start drawing divorced spousal benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit rate will be reduced by about 35% if you do. Even if you start drawing divorced spousal benefits before FRA, however, your surviving divorced spousal benefits would be unreduced if your ex dies after you reach FRA.

Whenever you file for divorced spousal benefits, you will be deemed to also have filed for retirement benefits on your own record, and you will receive only the higher of the 2 rates. Before filing, you may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to explore your options.

Best, Jerry