How Will Our Situation Work?

Jun 1 2018 - 7:37am

My fiancee and I are looking at getting married now that his divorce is final. They were married for approximately 50 years. We have four children together all under 16 years of age. He will be 70 this year and i am obviously of child bearing age. we will be applying for social security once he is 70. how does this work? I am a stay at home mother and never really worked. Two of our children are still in diapers. His ex-wife has to wait 2 years before she can put in a claim against his social security. side note... he is incarcerated and i know he isn't eligible personally to receive social security.


It sounds like your children could qualify for benefits as soon as your fiancée files for his Social Security retirement benefits. That's true even if his benefits are suspended due to incarceration. And, if you and your fiancée marry then you could likely qualify for child in care spousal benefits at least until your youngest child turns 16. There's a family maximum benefit limit that can be paid on any individual person's record, though, so you may not receive any more as a family even if you become eligible for spousal benefits.

For example, say Bill is age 70 and files for Social Security retirement benefits. Bill's full retirement age rate (PIA) is $1000, and the family maximum benefit (FMB) limit on his record is $1500. To determine the amount potentially payable to eligible family members on a living worker's record, the worker's PIA is subtracted from the FMB. Therefore, $500 is available to be paid to spouses and children who qualify for benefits on Bill's record. If 4 children are eligible they would each receive $125 (i.e. $500/4), but if a spouse is also eligible then the spouse and children would each receive $100 (i.e. $500/5).

By the way, if your fiancée's ex-wife eventually qualifies for benefits on his account it wouldn't affect the benefit amounts that could be paid to you and your children. Divorced spousal benefits are not limited by or counted against the family maximum. And, the fact that your fiancée's benefits couldn't be paid while he's incarcerated wouldn't change the benefit amounts that you and your children could be paid.

Best, Jerry