About 10 years ago, I was divorced after 25 years of marriage and I was the stay-at-home mom with 4 kids while my husband worked each day and grew his company to over 60 employees.
Now that the kids have grown, I am not receiving child or spousal support and I need help making ends meet. A friend suggested that I could receive my ex’s Social Security benefits.
I would like to know how to do that and also if I do get a job, can I still receive his Social Security. Can you please explain this in simple terms for me?
Thanks, Karen from Humble, TX
What a great question!! Everyone wants to receive their Social Security check, but no one ever thinks that you can draw on your ex-spouse’s Social Security check.
The maximum amount of Social Security benefits one can receive on an ex-spouse’s record is 50% of what your ex-spouse would get at their full retirement age (FRA). FRA between 1943 through 1954 is the month you turn 66. For other year’s FRA, see www.socialsecurity.gov to find the year.
Rules for qualifying for your Divorced Spouse’s Social Security Benefits:
1. Your Divorced Spouse must have worked 10 years and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes from his paychecks.
2. You marriage must have lasted at least 10 years.
3. You must be at least 62 to file for benefits, but these Social Security benefits will be reduced. Waiting until your FRA and you can receive 100% of the benefits.
4. You must be unmarried when you file. If you remarry, then your benefits from the ex-spouse will stop.
5. Your ex-spouse does not have to file for their own social security benefits for you to be eligible to receive a benefit based on their record.
6. Your relationship to your ex-spouse must be documented. You will have to provide originals not copies of marriage license, divorce decree and even death certificate if your ex-spouse has passed.
Karen estimate approximately what your ex-spouse earned and with their date of birth, you can use the Social Security calculator at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/quickcalc
to estimate approximate their benefit.
Many ex-spouses file for the 50% divorced spouse benefit and delay claiming their own. Each year past your FRA (full retirement age) that you postpone taking your own benefit, the government pays you an 8% bonus called the “Delayed Retirement Credit” (DRC).
If your FRA is age 66 and you wait until you reach 70 to begin your own Social Security, then your benefits have been increased by 32% and can also earn the annual Cost-of-Living increases that the Social Security benefits have received.
And so your monthly Social Security benefit has grown!
Karen…your second question is about what happens if you begin drawing your ex-spouses Social Security benefits and you go back to work.
Here is how that story goes…and it depends on your age when you are working. Once you have attained your FRA, then you can earn as much as you like.
However, if you are collecting Social Security income before your FRA, Social Security applies the earnings test. If your annual income from wages is more than $15,480 annually in 2014, then your Social Security income is reduced by $1 for every $2 that your wage income exceeds $15,480 annually.
Once your FRA begins, then the earnings test ends. The earnings test is another reason to delay Social Security benefits until after age 66 or your FRA.
Karen thanks for your question. Social Security rules are very confusing and understanding them is the key!!
Confused about Medicare and Social Security workshop – Every Tuesday, from 2:00-4:00 pm. Join Toni King at her new Toni Says Houston office at 10998 S. Wilcrest Dr, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77099. Toni’s office is located in the Stafford, Sugar Land, and SW Houston area. RSVP 832/800-4674. Reservations are required because seating is limited to 20.
Toni King, author of the new Medicare Survival Guide®, which is a simple guide that puts Medicare in “people” terms, is on sale at www.tonisays.com Email questions to www.tonisays.com/ask-toni or call 832/519-TONI (8664).