When Can My Wife Qualify For Benefits On My Record?

Apr 16 2017 - 5:40am

Age 76. Took SS at 62. Recently married my Mexican girlfriend (2/10/2017). We had been living together for 19 yrs.
before the nuptials. My SS is administered by the FBU at the US Embassy in Mexico City, and they are generally incompetent imo. They say that we must be married for at least one year for her to receive approx 90% of my SS when she turns 62, or at age 60 if a widow. I have a very aggressive form of Prostate Cancer, acc. to the VA Hospital in San Antonio, TX. I also receive about $1060. for service connected disability (60%). My prob. is that acc. to SS I must make it to next Feb 10th for Angeles to receive any benefits.
I'm originally fm Belmont, Mass., and have an MSW degree fm B.U. (just an aside).

Thanks for any info you may have.



Hi John,

I'm very sorry to hear about your diagnosis.

I wish I had better news for you with regard to your Social Security question. Generally, a person must be married for at least one year to qualify for spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.03/handbook-0305.html), or at least 9 months to qualify for widow(er)'s benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0401.html). There are exceptions to both, but nothing in your question would lead me to believe that any of the exceptions would apply in your wife's case.

Worse yet, unless your wife is a US Citizen, she may not be able to receive spousal or widow's benefits unless she meets a 5-year US residency requirement (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10137.pdf). If your wife does qualify to receive spousal benefits, she could receive up to 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA) at her full retirement age (FRA), or about 30% to 35% less than that if she starts drawing at age 62. And, if she qualifies to receive widow's benefits, she could get up to your full monthly benefit amount when she is about age 62.

Best, Jerry