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Below is a transcription of the Ask Gregory Podcast 93: Can I Claim My Ex-Spouse’s Social Security Benefits?
Gregory Ricks 00:00
Hey, welcome. I’m your host Gregory Ricks a financial advisor here to answer your questions and help you win with your money.
Podcast Intro / Outro 00:09
On today’s episode of the Ask Gregory podcast, Can I claim my ex spouse’s Social Security benefits? We also have a complimentary download waiting for you on this topic. If you go to gregoryricks.com/podcast93. Again, that is gregoryricks.com/podcast93
Gregory Ricks 00:34
Peggy from New Orleans, how can we help you today?
Hi, I have a quick question. I am 62. And I understand you can if you’ve been married and divorced, if you’ve been married long enough, you can collect on your ex’s Social Security.
Gregory Ricks 00:53
Yeah, that would be 10 years. 10 years.
Alright, that’s already taken care of. But so but if I have the age to collect six Social Security, and he’s not this, what I have to wait until these battle, and I’m older than he is, yeah. Like, so I’ll reach the Social Security age before, seven years before he does,
Gregory Ricks 01:21
Yeah, here, here’s kind of the technical part of that he needs to be of Social Security age. For you to carry on that benefit, he does not have to turn it on. And he doesn’t know and you don’t need to discuss it with him. But it’s your right to draw on his benefit. The only 10 years is how long you need to have been married to him. And he needs to be of Social Security age. And you qualify to start on that benefit. Now, being you’re below full retirement age, it will reduce your benefit by turning it on. And let’s say next time he turns 62, you’ll be 63 You’re gonna get a reduction in benefits. So let’s talk about that. They’ve been divorced, they were married for 10 years. And it’s been two years since they divorced if she was eligible for benefits from that standpoint. So if she owns benefit, if the wife’s own benefit is higher than her spousal benefit, there will be no change in social security. So one the advantage to draw on his record, and that is if the spousal benefit this is if he’s, while he’s living, it would be a spousal benefit. So if the spousal benefit is larger than her record, she would be receiving an increase if it’s larger. So if her benefit is higher than her spousal benefit, there will be no change in Social Security. If she hasn’t started receiving Social Security, yet her decisions about when to start would be based on the usual factors, such as health status, life expectancy need for income, and so forth. Without regard to survivor benefits. The important planning issue is that financially, she is now on her own and she probably has a lot of years ahead of her. So, if she and her husband had been married for more than 10 years before the divorce, divorcing, she may qualify for spousal benefits based on her ex-husband’s work record, as long as she is at least 62. And still in married when she fouls she’ll be paid her own benefit first. If her divorced spouse’s benefit would be higher, she’ll receive a spousal add on so that the combined benefit equals the spousal benefit. This may be 32.5 to 50% of his primary insurance amount depending on when she files if she was born before January 2 of 1954. She may restrict her application to her divorced spouse’s benefit, even if her own benefit is higher. Remember, that’s before January 2 of 1954. And then she’ll receive 50% of her ex-husband’s primary insurance amount while her own benefit bills delayed credit stage 70 It’s an excellent strategy for a divorced working woman as it allows them to take full advantage of their divorce by benefit and earn maximum delayed credits on their own record, which will give them higher income at an older age. If she and her husband have been divorced for at least two years, she does not need to apply for his benefits in order to receive hers. He does not need to be eligible for benefits, and be it, he does need to be, let’s just repeat that he does need to be eligible for benefits and be at least 62. So you heard me get that clarification and gave her that clarification. She does not need to know his earnings history, or even his whereabouts and doesn’t need to discuss it ask for permission. He’ll never know. Because it has zero impact on that even if he had multiple wives each for 10 years. And they’re going to utilize his work record he, he doesn’t need to know doesn’t need to give permission. Now here, what if if the ex-husband dies, the survivor benefits for the divorce spouses are the same as far widows providing that the marriage lasted at least 10 years, and the same benefit formulas, age requirements, and actuarial reductions apply. Met keep in mind, if she does it before, full retirement age and acronym, acronym I use fra full retirement age. She’s locking in, even if it’s a scenario of turning it on early, you’re locking in that reduction going forward there. So just keep that in mind as well as a part of the decision. And I look Social Security’s complicated, and so many scenarios and decisions to make. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing to turn it on before fri especially if you need the money. But you have to have consideration of your life expectancy, you also have to have consideration of your health, and correlated assets to make the best decision because what you don’t want to do is make the wrong decision cause a reduction that you lock in, when you could have had more benefits and you didn’t need to turn it on early, it can impact you by 10s of 1000s of dollars. And one of the things, especially for women is they’re going to live longer than the men they have a longer life expectancy. And everybody’s going to live longer. As a percentage, you’re going to live longer. So you’re going to draw benefits for a longer period of time potentially. So you need to make a good decision in that otherwise you’re leaving money on the table. So if it isn’t, like, oh, I needed to make ends meet, I need it right now. Okay, that that is a big impact. Also health, like if you’re in bad health, says there’s no way I’m living a long time with what I have going on. And I’m dealing with just using that phrase. That’s a consideration of why to turn it on early as well. But to understand you’re eligible for benefits, and if you don’t have a large Social Security earnings record, and that ex-spouse may pay more, even if it was say an ex-wife or the guy and she’s always made more income would have a larger benefit. It’s something to consider. So if you are divorced, or getting a divorce, got a divorce, make sure you keep up with those records and that information, don’t lose their social security number, you know, and the divorce information in those documents, you know, that old marriage license, I’ll get rid of it. Don’t get rid of the death certificate, or divorce certificate, it’ll all that paperwork, don’t keep up with that. So you have that information because it can impact and improve your Social Security benefits down the road. So hopefully that helps from that standpoint. Okay,
So, alright, well, I wasn’t planning on taking it until I was at full retirement age. But
Gregory Ricks 09:40
Oh, that’d be awesome. You won’t be Yeah, and that’ll give you whichever benefit is larger is what you’re actually turning on by that rule as well.
Podcast Intro / Outro 09:51
Thanks so much for listening to Ask Gregory where we answer your financial questions. You can find us anywhere podcasts can be found and on YouTube and Facebook Live every Saturday from 10 to 1! Subscribe. Leave a review And tune in next time! And don’t forget you’ve got a complimentary download waiting for you on this topic if you go to gregoryricks.com/podcast93 Again that is gregoryricks.com/podcast93
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