Ask Larry

Will I Still Receive Half Of My Ex-Husband's Full Amount If I Apply Before He Reaches His Full Retirement Age?

I'm divorced after being married for more than ten years. I plan on filing for social security spousal benefits because my own benefit would be less than half of my former spouse's. But if I file at 67 (my age to qualify for full benefits) my former spouse will only be 65. Would I still receive half of his full social security amount, or would it be reduced because he hasn't reached full retirement age? Should I wait until I'm 69 and he is 67? Thank you!

Hi. Yes, as long as your ex-spouse is at least age 62 when you apply for divorced spousal benefits, as long as you're at least full retirement age (FRA) when you claim benefits you can still qualify for up to a full 50% of his primary insurance amount (PIA). A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

However, if you have at least 40 quarters (QC) of Social Security coverage based on your own earnings history, then you can't apply for divorced spousal benefits without being required to claim your own benefits at the same time. If your own PIA is less than 50% of your ex-spouse's PIA and if you apply for benefits at your FRA, you would then be paid your PIA plus a partial divorced spousal rate equal to the difference between your PIA and 50% of your ex's PIA. The result would be that you'd then qualify for a combined benefit amount equal to 50% of your ex's PIA.

It sound like you may want to consider using our software ( to fully compare and analyze all of your options so that you can determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Feb 22 2023 - 3:10pm
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