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John Legal
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I am 59 turning 60 in AUG12. My wife is 65 turning 66 in JUN12.

Resolved Question:

I am 59 turning 60 in AUG12. My wife is 65 turning 66 in JUN12. I am working, she has worked very little & does not even qualify for Medicare. We buy health insurance privately. My wife has an unpaid student loan. We spoke to a lawyer about 10 years ago and were told that I was not required to ever pay it back. We get bill collectors letters periodically on it. I file injured spouse every year on our joint income tax. When Bush gave everybody $600 back, we got $300 back. Now, the question is this: SS told my wife a couple of years ago that she could collect SS on my SS when she reaches 66, which is my full retirement age. Is this correct and if she applies and collects, will they take the payments back for the student loan? Please let me know.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  John Legal replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for trusting Just Answer. I will answer as clearly as possible. I do ask for you Accept my answer so I am paid when we are done.

SS was correct that you wife can start collecting on your record when she turns 66. Any payments that she gets from SS are exempt form creditors. They cannot garnish her Social Security payments. The only obligations that are not exempt are child support and unpaid taxes.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
My wife called Social Security to get an appointment to apply for benefit on my earnings. They told her she would not be eligible until I turn 66. Please check the first part of my question and your reponse and comment. Is SS trying to give us a runaround to avoid a claim that we are entitled to? Please advise.
Expert:  John Legal replied 5 years ago.
Sorry, I flipped the two of you up. I did not realize that you where younger.

Your wife should be able to collect SS on her record if she has one. Once you turn 66 then you can start collecting on her record as well while your SS benefits continue to increase to the maximum amount then you can switch to your record.

Sorry for misreading your original statement of ages.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Please re-read my original question. My wife has not worked enough to qualify for MEDICARE OR SS. They tell her that she cannot make claim on either of those and cannot make claim on MEDICARE or SS from her ex husband either since she is now married to me. It is sounding like she is not eligible for anything until I turn 66 years old. The common thinking that when you hit 65 MEDICARE kicks in does not seem to hold for a case like this. Is there anything at all that we can do? Please elaboratel.


Expert:  John Legal replied 5 years ago.
Unfortunately for her to be eligible for Social Security Retirement one of the following has to be true:

  1. She has enough work history to qualify on her own;
  2. She is divorced, unmarried and her ex husband is either 66 or deceased; or
  3. Her current husband is over 66.

If she does not qualify for Social Security Retirement she could qualify for SSI (low income Social Security). However, SSI will take into account the household income. This will include your income. Therefore if you make more income than the poverty level she will not qualify for SSI at the moment.


Once you turn 66, she will qualify for Social Security Retirement under number 3 above. Wish I had better news.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Can I conclude that MEDICARE for my wife is also out until I turn 65 since she has no work history? MEDICARE has told us that but I just want to be sure they are not trying to avoid paying out the benefit. Thanks.


Expert:  John Legal replied 5 years ago.

Here is the Government site for Medicare eligibility. The Government eligibility rules say your or your spouse has to have worked 10 years.


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