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TaxRobin, Tax Preparer
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 15720
Experience:  15+ years in tax preparation and instruction
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I am the second wife (Married 29 years) of a man who died

Customer Question

I am the second wife (Married 29 years) of a man who died recently. His first wife collects
social security based upon his account. Can I also receive social security based on his account? I am 71, a retired teacher with my own teacher's pension, but not eligible for social security under my own account.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  TaxRobin replied 2 years ago.


Benefits paid to a divorced spouse won't affect the benefit rates for other survivors getting benefits on the worker's record. So even if the divorced spouse is receiving benefits, that would not have any effect on you as the surviving widow.

If you will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your benefits as a surviving widow may be effected.

If you receive a pension from a government job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes, some or all of your Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefit may be offset due to receipt of that pension. This offset is referred to as the Government Pension Offset, or GPO.

The GPO will reduce the amount of your Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your government pension. For example, if you receive a monthly civil service pension of $600, two-thirds of that, or $400, must be used to offset your Social Security spouse's, widow's or widower's benefits. If you are eligible for a $500 spouse's benefit, you will receive $100 per month from Social Security ($500 - $400 = $100).

You can not apply online but you can apply at your nearest SSA office.

Expert:  TaxRobin replied 2 years ago.

Please advise if you need more information or rating in a positive way is acceptable.