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Will My Ex-Wife Be Able To Qualify For Social Security Based On My Social Security Contributions?

I am writing on behalf of my former spouse, with respect to any benefits from my social security for which she may eventually qualify. I am an active duty service member, 57 years old,, who will retire in 2025 after 30 years of service and at the age of 60; I have also saved in my TSP and Roth IRA. As such, I intend to take my social security at age 70 My former spouse (currently 54) however, has little in the way of savings. She will have a small teacher pension form Texas, and will get little from social security as she worked in education most of her working years. She is disabled and is living with her parents. She can no longer work as she has been diagnosed with early onset mid -lobe dementia. As we were married for more than ten years, will she be able to qualify for social security based on my social security contributions? Will the fact that I will take my social security at age 70 delay her from getting any benefits based on my account. Very Respectfully, David

Hi David. Delaying your application for benefits until age 70 wouldn't delay your ex-wife's ability to qualify for divorced spousal benefits. Your ex-wife could qualify for divorced spousal benefits as early as when you reach age 62, or if you start receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) prior to age 62. She couldn't qualify for divorced spousal benefits earlier than that even if she's disabled, except in the event of your death. Surviving divorced spousal benefits can be paid as early as age 60, or age 50 if the surviving divorced spouse is disabled.

However, if your ex-wife receives a teachers pension based on her earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes, then any divorced spousal or survivor benefits for which she'd otherwise be eligible would almost certainly be offset by 2/3rds of the amount of her teachers pension due to the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (

If your ex-wife has sufficient Social Security covered earnings to qualify for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, it sounds like she may want to apply for those benefits now. There is no minimum age requirement to qualify for SSDI benefits, but there is an insured status requirement. One requirement for insured status for a person who becomes disabled after age 31 is that they must have at least 20 quarters (QC) of Social Security covered earnings within the 40 calendar quarter period immediately leading up to the date they became disabled. In other words, they must have had the equivalent of roughly 5 years of Social Security covered earnings in the 10 year period that ends with the date their disability began.

Best, Jerry

Feb 3 2023 - 4:35pm
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