When Can I Apply For Benefits On My Ex-Husband's Record?

Sep 20 2017 - 2:21pm

Hi Larry I was married from July 1995. To november of 2007.. I was in an abusive marriage and divorced however in December 2007 I got brain disease and tumors.. I was a stay at home mother most of the time but was on my way to earning my nursing degree.. 3 months shy and was working as a student nurse when this happened as a result of seizures from brain disease I can't work and have been collecting social security disability benefits around 990 per month.since 2008 or 2009. I have never remarried ... My ex husband is 5 years younger than me.. He was born in 1971 and I was born 1966.. So he was and currently is a carpenpenter and made around 18 to 21 per hour.. So my question is.. I'm thinking he earned much more than me but is 5 years younger than me.. So what should I do and at what age? My social security versus his .. And what age do I do these things .. I again am currently receiving social security disability but at some point it will switch to regular social security .. Who's do I apply under mine or his? Beings I am 5 years older than him? Also he is a heavy drinker and everyone says he doesn't look well do to his alcohol abuse.. So what happens in scenario b if he passes away?

I have another question.. A man I am dating born June 26. 1950 was married for 35 years .. His wife passed about 10 years ago from cancer around 56 years of age.. He is 67 years old and started collecting his own social security at age 62.. Had never filed for anything of his wife's.. Is he eligible for anything of her benefits? Even though her death was so long ago and he started drawing his own benefits?


The earliest that you could possibly get benefits from your ex-husband's record is when he turns age 62, unless he dies or starts receiving disability benefits before then. At that time you could potentially qualify for a divorced spousal benefit of 50% of his full retirement age rate (PIA) minus your own PIA. Your own PIA is basically the same as your full disability rate. If your own PIA is higher than 50% of your ex's PIA, then you couldn't get anything from his record for at least as long as he's living.

If the event of your ex's death, since you are already at least age 50 you could potentially qualify for a disabled surviving divorced spousal benefit equal to the difference between his full PIA and your PIA multiplied by 71.5%, assuming that his PIA is higher than yours. That amount could then be paid to you in addition to your disability benefit. If your ex dies after you reach age 60 you could potentially qualify for regular surviving divorced spousal benefits and the percentage reduction applied to the difference between your PIAs would be less than the 28.5% applied to disabled surviving divorced spousal benefits depending on your age at the time you start drawing the benefits.

It sounds like your friend could potentially qualify for widower's benefits on his deceased wife's record, but only if her PIA is higher than the amount he currently receives on his own record. He may want to check with Social Security to see if he's eligible.

Best, Jerry