If I Don't Remarry Will I Be Able To Collect A Divorced Spousal Benefit In Addition To My Own Benefit?

Apr 13 2020 - 2:34pm

In 2016 I ended my 30-year marriage. I was born in 1961 and continue to work; he was born in 1958 continues to draw SSI due to late onset blindness, although he worked more than 40 quarters before collecting SSI.

Questions:

If I don't remarry, will I be allowed to collect a spousal benefit at age 66 and 10 months, in addition to my Social Security retirement benefit?

Same question but what if I wait until I'm 70 or 72?

What if I begin collecting SS Retirement at age 66 and 10 months, but remarry shortly thereafter?

Thank you for your help, Larry. This is all so confusing.

Hi,

When you mention SSI, I'm not sure if you're referring to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits. If your ex-spouse is drawing only SSI benefits then you couldn't collect benefits on his account. SSI is a needs based program, and does not pay benefits to auxiliaries (e.g. spouse, children, divorced spouse) or survivors of the SSI recipient.

If your ex-spouse receives SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits then you could potentially qualify for divorced spousal benefits, but you'd have to be at least age 62. And, you couldn't qualify for divorced spousal benefits unless your ex-spouse's primary insurance amount (PIA) is more than twice as much as your PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA), or their full SSDI rate.

Regardless of at what age you apply, since you were born after January 1 1954 you could never apply just for divorced spousal benefits while your ex is living without being forced to file for your own benefits at the same time. As a result, you could only be paid essentially the higher of the two benefit rates, not both. And, if your ex is still living and you do qualify for divorced spousal benefits, your eligibility would end if you remarry regardless of how old you are at the time you remarry.

Best, Jerry