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Ask Dr. Fiona Chen Your Own Question
Dr. Fiona Chen
Dr. Fiona Chen, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 482
Experience:  Former IRS Revenue Agent
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I am 60 years old and retired. I just recently got

Customer Question

I am 60 years old and retired. I just recently got disability. I found out that my ex husband of 30 years is getting social security. Am I entitled to get social security also based on his drawing? I do not want this effect my disability in any way. Please help.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Dr. Fiona Chen replied 11 months ago.

Dear Retired on SSD,

You will start to qualify for spousal benefit after you reach age 62 if you were married for more than 10 years, in your case, yes, and you did not re-marry and with under conditions, as listed below. At the best, ***** ***** be qualify for the higher amount between the two of SSD and spousal benefit. It is not A+B. You can possibly get the larger of A and B. Spousal benefit is a supplemental amount which will enable us to get a higher amount.

I will enclose several SSA announcements and website quotations for your reference below. In general, however, disability payment is higher unless your ex-spouse' social security benefit is extraordinarily high and your disability amount is relatively low. Spousal benefit is only 50% of the spouse' SSI. If taken earlier than the full retirement age, the spousal benefit amount will be reduced monthly, as well. So, if beneficial to you, the spousal benefit when you turn full retirement age may make a greater difference.

You still want to consult with the Social Security Administration for definite information and most important, the exact dollar amount calculation. The latest change, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-74; November 2, 2015), effective on January 1, 2016 has caused even professionals have many new questions.

Please feel free to follow up with your questions. Otherwise, I am ready to be evaluated by you for your satisfaction with my answer to your question. Please read the references below on spouse and ex-spousal benefit information, as well.


Grace G.

Disability planner:

If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on his or her own record, we will always pay that amount first. But if the spouse benefit that is payable on your record is a higher amount, he or she will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount.

It doesn't matter if your spouse starts getting benefits before, after, or at the same time you do--we will check both records to make sure that your spouse gets the higher amount whenever he or she becomes entitled to it.

For Divorced Spousal Benefit

If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried) if:

  • You are unmarried;
  • You are age 62 or older;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse's work.

Note: Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse's full retirement amount (or disability benefit) if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. The benefits do not include any delayed retirement credits your ex-spouse may receive.