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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13285
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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My wife and I are both retired. This is our second marriage.

Customer Question

my wife and I are both retired. This is our second marriage. Before me she was married to Charlie for 12 years who made a pretty good living. Charlie died three years ago in a car accident. My wife found out that she could triple her SS benefits by making a claim on his SS account. But...she would have to divorce me and end our 35 year marriage. If we divorce and do a property split and all the details of a divorce...is there anything in the rules saying we can no longer live together. I hate the idea of legally dissolving our marriage but making sure she is financially stable, and will be if something happens to me. So if we lived together would the SSA be okay with that or would they ship me off to a FEMA camp or worse?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Hi, my name is***** and I am here to assist you. I am a social security attorney in my private practice – that is ALL I do. Please let me know that my post here is coming through for you by typing a quick reply.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Great question! There are definitely rules with regard to those collecting SSI, which is welfare. They can impute a marriage when applicable. And they are regularly used. I don't see them used in Social Security cases, however, which makes sense because it is not welfare, unlike SSI. There is no "deeming" of income that can disqualify one from benefits, in Social Security.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

I note that you state you hate the idea (understandably!) of dissolving your marriage, and you suggest you would do so to make sure she is financially stable if something happens to you. Well, there are other ways, should you pass. First, if you pass she gets YOUR SS benefit, so if that is higher than her own, she can choose that. Also, she or you can buy term life insurance. have you thought of such other options?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

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