How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 12691
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
Type Your Social Security Question Here...
Lane is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Husband and wife are divorcing. Husband's lifetime social

Customer Question

Husband and wife are divorcing. Husband's lifetime social security earnings are far more than wife's. Wife expects that when she retires she would elect to receive benefits based on her husband's lifetime earnings and not her own. What happens, though, if husband dies before becoming eligible to receive social security income. May the wife still claim social security benefit income based on her husband's earnings that he accrued up to the time of his death?
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: No.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 9 months ago.

Hi My name's Lane. I can help here.


There are two benefits to which she's entitled; (1) the divorced spouse benefit (50% of husbands), reduced by as much as 25% if she takes at the earliest age, 62(a full 50% at her full retirement agee of 66) and (2) the survivor benefit if he passes (71.5 to 100% of his basic benefit, starting as early as age 60, and just as with spousal, grows to 100% if she waits until age 66).


It's important to know that benefits cannot be "stacked," as SSA puts it ... at any time that she is eligible for more than one benefit, when she applies for the new benefit, (IF the new benefit would be higher than the one being received) they will pay a combination of benefits that takes her UP TO the higher benefit.

Expert:  Lane replied 9 months ago.

Please let me know if you have ANY questions at all, before rating me

But if this has helped, and you don’t have other questions, I would appreciate a positive rating (using those stars on your screen – and clicking submit)

That’s the only way JustAnswer will compensate me for the work here.



I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in finance, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986.