How Should The RIB-LIM Formula Be Applied In My Case?

May 24 2017 - 7:18am

My ex-husband recently passed away. I meet the qualifications for a divorced survivor benefit. He claimed benefits about 6 month prior to his FRA at age 65. I am 64, will be 65 next month, June of 2017. When I requested an estimate of benefits I was told the RIB LIM formula would be applied and the results were 82.5% of his full PIA. The figure I was given was $2243 and was advised this was the highest possible no matter when I apply. However his benefit was only reduced a small percentage due to his taking his benefits a few short months from his FRA so he was receiving nearly 100% (about $2700 a month is what he told me prior to his death) After much reading on this matter, my understanding is that I should receive the higher of the RIB LIM formula OR what my ex was receiving in reduced benefits at the time of his death. I cannot obtain a copy of his Award Letter for the year of his death (2017) but assume social security would have that. I don't understand why my benefits would be reduced nearly 20% from what he was receiving when he died.

Hi,

Your maximum potential surviving divorced spousal benefit rate should be the higher of a) your ex-husband's reduced retirement rate or b) 82.5% of his primary insurance amount (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615320). Based on your description of when your ex filed, it sounds like his reduced rate should be higher than 82.5% of his PIA, so what you were told by the Social Security rep doesn't sound correct. Obviously, I'm not privy to all of the actual facts of your case, though, so I can't be sure. You might want to try re-contacting Social Security and ask to speak with a technical expert.

Best, Jerry