Ask Bob: Can I Collect Divorced Spouse Benefits?

Robert Powell, CFP®

Question

I am 61. My ex-spouse is 59. I am currently collecting Social Security Disability Insurance. Am I able to collect my ex-husband's Social Security benefits? And if so, when?

Answer

The soonest you could start divorced-spouse benefits would be when your ex turns 62, says Elaine Floyd, CFP, the director of retirement and life planning at Horsesmouth.

Elaine Floyd
Elaine Floyd

"To collect, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and you must be unmarried when you apply," she says. 

According to Floyd, the Social Security Administration will calculate the difference between your disability benefit and your ex-spouse’s primary insurance amount or PIA (i.e., the amount he’ll be entitled to if he claims his benefit at his full retirement age of 67). 

"If this is a positive number, the amount will be added to your existing disability benefit," says Floyd. "If it’s a negative number — that is, your disability benefit is more than half of his primary insurance amount — you would not be entitled to a divorced-spouse benefit."

Got questions?

Email Robert.Powell@Maven.io

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