Why Was I Not Allowed To Take Social Security Off Of My Ex-Husband?

Mar 17 2020 - 6:05am

Hi! I went into the Social Security office in April 2015 at age 63. I specifically asked the representative if I could collect off of my ex-spouses SS since we had been married over 10 years. She told me that because he was on SS disability I did not qualify to receive any monies from his SS. I ended up having to take an early retirement because of health issues and 3 years later was SS disability for myself. Why was I not allowed to take SS off of my ex husband since he had been injured during our marriage and cost me a lot of money to get him on disability due to his injuries.

Hi,

There isn't enough information in your question for me to be able to give you a complete answer. What I can tell you, though, is that if you had applied for divorced spousal benefits at age 63 and if your ex-husband was still living at that time you would also have been required to apply for your own Social Security retirement benefits. And, because of that you would only have qualified for divorced spousal benefits if your divorced spousal rate was higher than your own benefit rate. Unreduced divorced spousal benefits are calculated based on 50% of the worker's primary insurance amount (PIA), but can be lower than that if the worker is drawing Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits rather than Social Security retirement benefits. And, if you had applied for divorced spousal benefits prior to your full retirement age (FRA) your benefit rate would also be reduced for age.

If you haven't already applied for divorced spousal benefits you could still apply for them, but assuming that your ex is still living you could only qualify for divorced spousal benefits if 50% of your ex's PIA is more than your own PIA. That would also have been the case if you'd filed at age 63, except that your benefits would then have been reduced for age.

Best, Jerry