Should I end my happy marriage to get the social security of my deceased ex?

Dear Petunia,

My husband and I divorced after 21 years of marriage. I thought I was eligible for his social security. I don’t know if you remarry before the age of 60 and remarry before the age of 60.

Is it illegal to divorce to obtain social security from my ex-husband? He is dead.

I am 62 years old. I am very happy that I can get married happily, but I am not happy about missing my ex-husband’s social security. For 10 years, we have started a business together without any money. After that, the business became very profitable.

In the divorce, he got business and retirement accounts. I received 20 years of house (and mortgage), child support and alimony (because I remarried, I was 17 years in advance).


Miss dear,

Few people feel that they are getting a fair deal when they come out of the divorce court. It must be a pill that is particularly difficult to swallow to see your husband get the business you built together. It is understandable that you do not want to leave social security payments on the table now.

At the same time, you have established a new life and a happy marriage. The extra social security payment is of course great, but if it jeopardizes your current relationship with your loved one, it is not. Therefore, if your current spouse is uncomfortable with the idea of ​​getting more social security through divorce, then the discussion should end.

Technically, as long as you divorce according to the laws of your state, your advice will work. People do divorce purely for economic reasons. This is often referred to as a strategic divorce. Some couples divorce to help a partner qualify for Medicaid, or to allow the child to receive more financial assistance.

Before I continue, disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, if this is something you are seriously considering, please consult.

The basic rules are as follows.You can apply for social security Work record of former spouse, Provided that the marriage lasts for at least 10 years. The best interest is their 50% Full retirement age Benefit, but social security will not make you double down. You will get the higher of your benefits or your predecessor’s benefits, but you will not get both.

If they die, you can charge up to 100% of their main insurance amount in the following ways Survivor’s welfare. As you have noticed, if you wait until you are 60 (or 50 if you have a disability) to remarry, you can only receive survivor benefits from your former spouse. However, if the second marriage ends in divorce or because of the death of your second spouse, Social Security will allow you to receive any spouse’s benefits, provided that the benefits are higher than the amount you are eligible for. Likewise, you get your benefit or his benefit, but not both.

Before you start calling a divorce lawyer, you will want to know how much money you actually have. I suggest you call your local social security office. If you file a claim based on your own records, they can estimate your benefits and the benefits you will receive from the former survivor’s benefits if your current marriage ends. There is no need to elaborate on why the marriage may end.

Remember, divorce is not free, even if the two of you are in complete harmony. In addition to court fees and attorney fees, you may need to overcome additional obstacles.

For example, some states require you to maintain an independent residence for a period of time before divorcing. If one of you is enrolled in the health insurance sponsored by the other’s employer, a divorce may seriously increase your medical insurance costs.

If you need more social security, you’d better postpone and apply according to your own records. Every year you exceed the full retirement age until you reach 70, you will receive an additional 8% deferred retirement points. When you apply to someone else’s record, you will not be able to earn deferred retirement points.

Another option is to receive benefits based on your current spouse’s records.This Married spouse rules Similar to ex-spouse who are still alive. You can get up to 50% of their full retirement benefits.

Unless you can’t pay the bills without higher survivor benefits, I would be very inclined not to divorce just to get more social security. Doing so will complicate the happy marriage you are trying to build. You may have gotten a bad deal in a divorce, but at this point, it is wise to move on.

Robin Hartill is Penny Hoarder’s certified financial planner and senior author.Send your tough money questions to [email protected].

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