10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

10 Odd Social Security Rules and Practices

Ask Bob: If My Ex-wife Earns More Than Me, Does That Increase My Social Security Benefit?

A reader asks if claiming under his former spouse's work record will improve his Social Security benefit.
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Question

My ex-wife and I were married 20 years and divorced in 2018. I'm 10 years older than her and plan to collect my Social security benefits by next year (62 years old)

Since she earns more than I do (her annual income is ~$100,000/year), how much more will be added to my retirement benefits?

Answer

Generally speaking, you would be able to collect benefits on your ex-wife’s record assuming you are not remarried, says Jason Siperstein, CFA, CFP®, RMA® and president of Eliot Rose Wealth Management. “However, there is a caveat here – your age gap.” Siperstein says, “You can only receive benefits on her record once she turns 62 years old. That would mean you would have to wait another ten years before even the possibility of collecting anything on her record. In other words, you receive nothing!”

He adds, “You are eligible to receive up to 50% of your ex-wife’s retirement benefit. In your case, you would only be entitled to 32% of her benefit since you are claiming early at 62.” Just because she was the higher earner does not necessarily mean you would gain anything from her work record.

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Email Robert.Powell@maven.io.


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Question

My ex-wife and I were married 20 years and divorced in 2018. I'm 10 years older than her and plan to collect my Social security benefits by next year (62 years old)

Since she earns more than I do (her annual income is ~$100,000/year), how much more will be added to my retirement benefits?

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