Who Can Draw Benefits From My Husband's Record?

Mar 11 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry, My husband of 18 years filed for SS retirement benefits a few weeks before he was 67,his benefits before Medicare deductions are 2085. He has an ex-spouse, she never worked or never remarried, they were married over 10 years,also they had a child that was disabled before she was 22, she is now 46, still disabled and never married. My history is I became disabled at 34,I had worked, so I received SS disability, at age 66,one month before my husband applied for SS retirement,my SS disability was changed to SS retirement, my SS is $765 before Medicare deductions. SS decision was made that I could not draw from my husband's benefits because I could draw from another account which was higher.. I have not been married for longer than 10 years to anyone else, SS gives me no explanation of how they made this decision. In this situation, who can draw from my husband's benefits? Thanks for your input, Respectfully, Diana

Hi Diana,

Potentially, at least, it sounds like you, your husband's ex-wife, and his disabled child could all qualify for auxiliary benefits on your husband's Social Security record. Each beneficiary could be eligible for up to 50% of your husband's full retirement age rate (PIA), but there is a maximum family benefit that could limit the actual amounts payable. However, benefits paid to divorced spouses aren't subject to the family maximum, so your husband's ex-wife could be eligible for her full 50% regardless of who else is eligible.

If your husband's age 67 benefit rate is $2085, his full retirement age rate (PIA) would likely be around $1930. The family maximum benefit would then be around $3430, leaving up to about $1500 (i.e. $3430 - $1930) to potentially be split between you and your husband's disabled child. Of course, these are only approximations, and I can't be sure of all of the factors involved in your family's case.

So, the apparent situation in your case is that the benefit rate payable on your own record is higher than your proportional share of the family maximum available on your husband's record.

Best, Jerry