Ask Larry

What Benefits Is My Ex Eligible to Receive?

Hi, my ex-wife, born July, 1950 to whom I was married for 23 years, had to file for social security disability at 64 1/2. She turned 66 July 1 which made her eligible for divorced spouse benefit 50% of my full retirement age benefit. The social security office first said it could not be done because she was disability, but after consulting with supervisor agreed. They processed the application wrong under both records and now say she does not have the spousal only benefit because she had already received disability. Could you help us prepare for her appeal? Thanks, John

John, our software can determine what benefits and at what amount your ex can be entitled to. Since she was born on the first of the month, her full retirement age (FRA) month was actually June. At FRA, her disability benefit automatically converted to a standard retirement benefit, which she could suspend receipt of in order to earn delayed retirement credits. However, because she'd be suspending now under the new rules, she wouldn't be able to receive any other benefit while her retirement benefit is suspended. But she of course doesn't have to suspend. If her divorced spousal benefit, which as you note is equal to 50% of your FRA retirement benefit, is larger than what is now her retirement benefit, she should be able to receive that. If her retirement benefit is larger than her divorced spousal benefit, she'd continue to receive that. Thanks, John

Jul 10 2016 - 8:45pm
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