Ask Larry

Would It Be Advisable Financially For My Uncles To Marry?

My Uncles, both in their late 80's, have been life partners since the mid 1980's. They are not married, and have no plans to marry. They both get Social Security checks. They receive about the same, and it adds up to around $30,000 per year. When one of them dies, will the other be eligible for any survivor's benefits? Would it be advisable financially for them to get married?


Just to clarify, I don't know what it would mean for them other than the Social Security considerations. But, as far as their Social Security benefits are concerned, marriage would have no adverse affects, assuming that they are both only receiving benefits on their own records. If that's the case, they would likely just continue to receive the same amount that they currently receive.

However, if one of their full retirement age benefit rates is more than twice the amount of the other's, there would be the potential for payment of an excess spousal benefit after a year of marriage. And, the surviving member of the couple would be eligible for the higher of their 2 benefits, provided that they had been married for at least 9 months before the deceased spouse's death.

Best, Jerry

Dec 17 2016 - 11:15am
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.
$40 Annual Household License
$250 Annual Financial Advisor License