Question about Social Security spousal benefits

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protagonist
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Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby protagonist » Thu May 18, 2017 4:58 pm

Me:
-born 1952
-Married 19 years, divorced in 2008.
-not re-married
-delaying claiming my own SS benefits until age 70

My ex-wife:
-born 1950
-not re-married

Both of us are eligible for social security benefits.

I was under the impression that when I turn 66, I could also claim spousal benefits (1/2 of my ex-wife's expected benefits at full retirement age).

But when I called the social security admin. to confirm this, the rep. told me that I would NOT BE entitled to spousal benefits because my ex-wife was ALREADY independently collecting spousal benefits off my account.

Is this correct? I did a fairly thorough web search, and I didn't find anything that would confirm that I would not be eligible for spousal benefits because my ex already claimed off my earnings. From what I read, I should still be eligible for half of her SS benefits when I turn 66 without compromising my benefits starting age 70.

If the rep is correct, do I have any recourse?
Last edited by protagonist on Thu May 18, 2017 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

clydewolf
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby clydewolf » Thu May 18, 2017 5:46 pm

Apparently you are eligible for retirement benefits that would be greater than the spousal benefit from your ex's retirement.
Note the 4th bullet here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Thu May 18, 2017 6:08 pm

The rep is wrong. You'll still be able to file a restricted application at your FRA for spousal benefits on your ex-spouse's work record. Here are the requirements for such spousal benefits:
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-0331.htm

Note that it says nothing about whether or not your ex-spouse is collecting a spousal benefit on your work record.

clydewolf wrote:Apparently you are eligible for retirement benefits that would be greater than the spousal benefit from your ex's retirement.
Note the 4th bullet here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

This would be relevant if the OP were "entitled" to such a retirement benefit (rather than simply "eligible"), but he has stated that he has not yet claimed his retirement benefit.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

protagonist
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby protagonist » Thu May 18, 2017 8:41 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:The rep is wrong. You'll still be able to file a restricted application at your FRA for spousal benefits on your ex-spouse's work record. Here are the requirements for such spousal benefits:
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-0331.htm

Note that it says nothing about whether or not your ex-spouse is collecting a spousal benefit on your work record.

clydewolf wrote:Apparently you are eligible for retirement benefits that would be greater than the spousal benefit from your ex's retirement.
Note the 4th bullet here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

This would be relevant if the OP were "entitled" to such a retirement benefit (rather than simply "eligible"), but he has stated that he has not yet claimed his retirement benefit.


This is how I read it as well, Obli. Thanks.

But the rep has me rather worried that I am missing something. He was pretty insistent. I have no idea how often the phone reps give spurious information. My fiancee and I are postponing marriage until 2022 based on my assumption! My ex made a fair amount of money. I hope you are correct.

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David Jay
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby David Jay » Thu May 18, 2017 9:19 pm

Mike Piper (Oblivious Investor) wrote the book on Social Security - literally. I have his book on SS on my Kindle Reader.

I would be confident to make the trip to a SS Office for a face-to-face on the strength of Mike's say-so.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

protagonist
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby protagonist » Thu May 18, 2017 10:14 pm

David Jay wrote:Mike Piper (Oblivious Investor) wrote the book on Social Security - literally. I have his book on SS on my Kindle Reader.

I would be confident to make the trip to a SS Office for a face-to-face on the strength of Mike's say-so.


+1

protagonist
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby protagonist » Thu May 18, 2017 10:15 pm

If I want to start claiming spousal benefits at age 66 (but defer taking my own until 70), how early can I apply?

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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Fri May 19, 2017 9:24 am

David Jay wrote:Mike Piper (Oblivious Investor) wrote the book on Social Security - literally. I have his book on SS on my Kindle Reader.

I would be confident to make the trip to a SS Office for a face-to-face on the strength of Mike's say-so.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, David. :)

That said, if planning a visit to a local SSA office, I'd definitely bring in a relevant citation (POMS or CFR, such as the link I provided above).

Or, even better, just apply online.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby ObliviousInvestor » Fri May 19, 2017 9:25 am

protagonist wrote:If I want to start claiming spousal benefits at age 66 (but defer taking my own until 70), how early can I apply?

The general rule is that the earliest you can apply is 3 months before you want your benefits to start.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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David Jay
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby David Jay » Fri May 19, 2017 10:24 am

ObliviousInvestor wrote:Thanks for the vote of confidence, David. :)


I am married, plan to retire in about 18 months @ age 62, I have been running all the scenarios based on your book. Thank you.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

protagonist
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby protagonist » Fri May 19, 2017 11:33 am

ObliviousInvestor wrote:
David Jay wrote:Mike Piper (Oblivious Investor) wrote the book on Social Security - literally. I have his book on SS on my Kindle Reader.

I would be confident to make the trip to a SS Office for a face-to-face on the strength of Mike's say-so.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, David. :)

That said, if planning a visit to a local SSA office, I'd definitely bring in a relevant citation (POMS or CFR, such as the link I provided above).

Or, even better, just apply online.



Thanks a million for your help, Mike.
Very much appreciated. :sharebeer

protagonist
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby protagonist » Fri May 19, 2017 11:34 am

David Jay wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:Thanks for the vote of confidence, David. :)


I am married, plan to retire in about 18 months @ age 62, I have been running all the scenarios based on your book. Thank you.


Congratulations.
If you are like most of us (including those of us who loved our jobs), you will be very happy you retired.

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David Jay
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Re: Question about Social Security spousal benefits

Postby David Jay » Fri May 19, 2017 12:27 pm

protagonist wrote:
David Jay wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:Thanks for the vote of confidence, David. :)


I am married, plan to retire in about 18 months @ age 62, I have been running all the scenarios based on your book. Thank you.


Congratulations.
If you are like most of us (including those of us who loved our jobs), you will be very happy you retired.


I love parts of my job. But the alarm clock will not be missed.
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius


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