Social Security Survivor Benefits

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gassert
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Social Security Survivor Benefits

Post by gassert »

I know that in order to qualify for retirement benefits based on the record of your spouse (or ex-spouse), you need to be married for 10 years.

Is the same true of survivorship benefits for a spouse, 10 yrs? For ex if a widower were to marry again and then pass away in 5 yrs, would his new bride be able choose his survivor benefit?

Thanks - GG
earlyout
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Post by earlyout »

GG

I found the info below on the SSA website. It looks like the 10 year rule does not apply.

_____________________________________________________

How remarriage affects survivors benefits

... If you remarry after age 60 (50 if disabled), you can still collect benefits on your former spouse's record. When you reach age 62 or older, you may get retirement benefits on the record of your new spouse if they are higher.

_____________________________________________________

Maybe someone will come up with something more definite.

EO
nonnie
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Re: Social Security Survivor Benefits

Post by nonnie »

gassert wrote:I know that in order to qualify for retirement benefits based on the record of your spouse (or ex-spouse), you need to be married for 10 years.

Is the same true of survivorship benefits for a spouse, 10 yrs? For ex if a widower were to marry again and then pass away in 5 yrs, would his new bride be able choose his survivor benefit?

Thanks - GG
Hi GG,

Unfortunately I know way more about SS than I'd like :D In order to collect benefits on the record of a deceased spouse, one needs to have been married for 9 months.

Here's a link with all the rules:

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/ssa ... _faqid=395

Tto quote from the link; "Generally, a person can qualify for widow's or widower's benefits if he or she was married to the deceased worker for at least nine months just before the worker died. However, you do not need to be married to the worker for any specific length of time i ...f:"
Nonnie
Last edited by nonnie on Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
sscritic
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Re: Social Security Survivor Benefits

Post by sscritic »

gassert wrote:I know that in order to qualify for retirement benefits based on the record of your spouse (or ex-spouse), you need to be married for 10 years.
What you know is not true. The general rule for a spouse (not ex-spouse) is one year of marriage. However, if you got your high school girlfriend pregnant and the child was born alive and you then went your separate ways, but then you marry her when she is over 62 and you are already collecting benefits, she will be able to claim wife's benefits on your record from day one (even if your child together died many years ago).
Topic Author
gassert
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Post by gassert »

Great - thanks for the info.

So it sounds like a divorced spouse can receive retirement benefits if they were married 10 yrs. Or survivor benefits if married 10 yrs.

A married spouse can receive survivor benefits if married 9 months.

A married spouse can receive retirement benefits if married 1 year.

With several exceptions and caveats, etc.

GG
chaz
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Post by chaz »

The correct info is at ssa.gov
Chaz | | “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." Woody Allen | | http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
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tom0153
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Re: Social Security Survivor Benefits

Post by tom0153 »

Hi GG,

Unfortunately I know way more about SS than I'd like :D In order to collect benefits on the record of a deceased spouse, one needs to have been married for 9 months.

Here's a link with all the rules:

http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/ssa ... _faqid=395

Tto quote from the link; "Generally, a person can qualify for widow's or widower's benefits if he or she was married to the deceased worker for at least nine months just before the worker died. However, you do not need to be married to the worker for any specific length of time i ...f:"
Nonnie[/quote]

Hi, my condolences if you lost your spouse. If you work for SSA, my thanks. Your link demonstrates the fact that SSA has a web site that is accomplished in the info it provides, and the way it wades through the esoterica for the beneficiaries, and provides access to info that professionals can use.
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Lbill
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Post by Lbill »

One thing: can a surviving ex-spouse collect survivor benefits if married to the deceased for 10 years, in addition to survivor benefits collected by the current spouse of the deceased? I knew both a divorced ex-spouse married for 10 years and the current spouse can both receive spousal benefits - I didn't know they could both receive survivor benefits as well. A serial-marrier could really cost Uncle Sam some money, assuming he/she stays married for at least 10 years to each spouse. Lemme see, if I'd started when I was 20, I could have 4 ex-wives and 1 current wife in line for benefits - not counting my own! And I might have time to get a couple more lined up. :roll:
"Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward." ~ Søren Kierkegaard | | "You can't connect the dots looking forward; but only by looking backwards." ~ Steve Jobs
nonnie
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Post by nonnie »

Lbill wrote:One thing: can a surviving ex-spouse collect survivor benefits if married to the deceased for 10 years, in addition to survivor benefits collected by the current spouse of the deceased? I knew both a divorced ex-spouse married for 10 years and the current spouse can both receive spousal benefits - I didn't know they could both receive survivor benefits as well. A serial-marrier could really cost Uncle Sam some money, assuming he/she stays married for at least 10 years to each spouse. Lemme see, if I'd started when I was 20, I could have 4 ex-wives and 1 current wife in line for benefits - not counting my own! And I might have time to get a couple more lined up. :roll:
Hi Lbill,
Unfortunately-- for some-- you get to choose only one-- whatever gets you the highest benefit. But don't let that stop you from starting a roll :-)

Nonnie
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

Lbill wrote:One thing: can a surviving ex-spouse collect survivor benefits if married to the deceased for 10 years, in addition to survivor benefits collected by the current spouse of the deceased? I knew both a divorced ex-spouse married for 10 years and the current spouse can both receive spousal benefits - I didn't know they could both receive survivor benefits as well.
SSA wrote:1. Eligibility for Widow(er)'s Benefits on More Than One Record

* Entitlement to reduced WIB on one earnings record does not affect subsequent entitlement to WIB on another earnings record. A widow(er) can receive reduced benefits on one record for a period of time and later file on another record to receive a higher benefit.

* If the widow(er) files on both records and does not restrict his/her application, he/she will be technically entitled on both but paid the higher rate. Months of technical entitlement for which no payment was made cannot be eliminated from the widow(er)'s RF at FRA.
When a widow(er) is eligible for WIB on more than one record but does not restrict the application to one record, see RS 00615.301B.1.b. The application must be restricted to allow the widow(er) to apply for a higher benefit subsequently payable on the other record because of lesser reduction for age.
Your best deal is to apply at age 60 on the record of the lower earning ex-spouse and get a reduced benefit. At FRA, apply for the larger benefit of the higher earning ex-spouse, and you will be paid the larger of the two benefits. This gives you the larger benefit for the rest of your life, but with the addition of 6 years of extra benefits on the lower earning ex-spouse. [This assumes that your ex-spouses cooperate by one dying early and the other dying after delaying retirement benefits until age 70.]

(Nonnie misspoke slightly - you can't choose either the larger or the smaller, you get the larger even it was from the spouse you hated the most and don't want it. Of course, if you really don't want it, don't apply for it.)
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Lbill
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Post by Lbill »

nonnie- I guess I wasn't very clear in the way I worded my question, but I think it got answered anyway. I was wondering whether my ex-spouse (if I had one) could collect survivor benefits on my record, as well as my current spouse collecting those survivor benefits? It looks like the answer is Yes. If I had re-married 5 times, and had stayed married at least 10 years for all of my ex-wives, then all 5 (current wife and ex-wives) would be able to collect survivor benefits based on my record? They they could all get get together and live in a commune and have a pretty good collective income.
"Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward." ~ Søren Kierkegaard | | "You can't connect the dots looking forward; but only by looking backwards." ~ Steve Jobs
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

Lbill wrote: I was wondering whether my ex-spouse (if I had one) could collect survivor benefits on my record, as well as my current spouse collecting those survivor benefits? It looks like the answer is Yes. If I had re-married 5 times, and had stayed married at least 10 years for all of my ex-wives, then all 5 (current wife and ex-wives) would be able to collect survivor benefits based on my record? They they could all get get together and live in a commune and have a pretty good collective income.
Right. The family maximum rule doesn't apply to your ex-spouses, so they all can collect on your record.
So please, save social security for the younger worker. Stop your serial marriages! :D
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Lbill
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Post by Lbill »

Had I know of this social security rule, I might have considered serial marriage. I could have bribed each prospective bride with the promises of vast weath from Uncle Sammy after I died if they would put up with me for 10 years. :D
"Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward." ~ Søren Kierkegaard | | "You can't connect the dots looking forward; but only by looking backwards." ~ Steve Jobs
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

Lbill wrote:Had I know of this social security rule, I might have considered serial marriage. I could have bribed each prospective bride with the promises of vast weath from Uncle Sammy after I died if they would put up with me for 10 years. :D
But the last laugh will be Uncle Sammy's when you outlive all of them!
nonnie
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Post by nonnie »

Lbill wrote:Had I know of this social security rule, I might have considered serial marriage. I could have bribed each prospective bride with the promises of vast weath from Uncle Sammy after I died if they would put up with me for 10 years. :D
Hi Lbill,
This isn't as bizarre or as unusual as one might think. At least in my neck of the woods, older people have been know to marry someone in order to collect these benefits. And-- a close family member of mine--diagnosed with cancer several years ago, currently cancer free but convinced he's not going to live more than 5 or so years, is entertaining the idea of auctioning off his pension benefits in exchange for a year of something yet to be determined.

Nonnie
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Lbill
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Post by Lbill »

nonnie- Yes, you're right. I remember a few years back when I had a health issue I thought of marrying a close [female] friend so she'd be able to collect my survivor benefits. You reminded me of the 9-month rule on that. Fortunately, things didn't turn out badly for me. Since that time, I found out about divorcee benefits. She was married 16 years to a lawyer so she could do a lot better collecting his benefits anyhow. :)
"Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward." ~ Søren Kierkegaard | | "You can't connect the dots looking forward; but only by looking backwards." ~ Steve Jobs
nonnie
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Post by nonnie »

Lbill wrote: I remember a few years back when I had a health issue I thought of marrying a close [female] friend so she'd be able to collect my survivor benefits. You reminded me of the 9-month rule on that. Fortunately, things didn't turn out badly for me.
Hi Lbill,

Glad to hear your health issue worked out. My fiance and I joke about marrying for SS benefits but I'd only get $50 a month more :-). It is interesting about multiple spouses being able to collect. When I told my ex I was going to collect against his SS benefits he got upset until I explained it wouldn't affect his benefits in anyway.

Best,
Nonnie
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Lbill
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Post by Lbill »

nonnie- Maybe you shouldn't have told him that and let him squirm a little :lol: No, that's something I might do...
"Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward." ~ Søren Kierkegaard | | "You can't connect the dots looking forward; but only by looking backwards." ~ Steve Jobs
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