Ask Larry

If I Marry, What Benefits Can My Wife Collect?


I am 74 years of age. I was married for 30+years before I was divorced 5 years ago. I am planing on marrying again to a 66 year old woman later in the year. Is she eligible to claim any spousal benefits when we marry? What happens if I die? Thank you in advance for your help.

Barry Pinsley

Hi Barry,

If she hasn't taken her own retirement benefit she can, after one year collect a full spousal benefit (equal to half of your full retirement benefit) and then take her own retirement benefit at 70 when it maxes out. If she has already taken her retirement benefit, the spousal benefit she'll get starting in a year is her excess spousal benefit equal to half of your full retirement benefit less 100 percent of her full retirement benefit augmented by a year's delayed retirement credits. The excess spousal benefit, if negative, is set to zero. So the answer could be that your wife to be can't collect anything on your work record while you are still alive. If you die after at least 9 months of marriage, your new wife will be able to collect a widows benefit on your work record. It will equal your check. If this widows benefit exceeds her own retirement benefit she will get it instead of her retirement benefit.

best, Larry

Jul 4 2016 - 11:15pm
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