I had been drawing off of my ex spouse's benefits; when I reached age 70 I started to draw from my own. When my ex spouse dies will I receive a higher amount and will that change automatically or do I have to apply for it. I have not been in contact with him for 20 years and would not know if he were to die.
If your ex-spouse's benefit rate is higher than your own benefit rate, it sounds like you'd be eligible for his or her higher rate as a survivor. You'd only get the higher of his rate or your rate, however, not both.