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Although I am still working I am trying to determine if I…

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Although I am still...

Although I am still working I am trying to determine if I should start my SS retirement at 66. I have re-married and my ex-wife (>10 years) also remarried. I was informed that my ex-wife's husband passed away. Will she have a claim to my SS benefits and if so what percentage?

Accountant's Assistant: 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 important you think the Accountant should know?

Although I am still working I am trying to determine if I should start my SS retirement at 66. I have re-married and my ex-wife (>10 years) also remarried. I was informed that my ex-wife's husband passed away. Will she have a claim to my SS benefits and if so what percentage?

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Social Security
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
8/1/2017
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 6 months ago
emc011075
emc011075, Tax Adviser
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3,380
Experience: Tax adviser IRS licensed Enrolled Agent and tax instructor
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Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

Nobody else has right to your benefits but you. Your spouse, if you are married for at least 9 month, can claim benefits based your records called spousal benefits. Your ex-spouse can also claim benefits based on your records as soon as both of you are 62 or older. Her choices will not affect your own or your current spouse's benefits.

Your ex has several choices. She can claim benefits based on her own records, widows/survivor benefits (based on her late husband's records, that could be as much as 100%) and benefits based on your records (which could be as much as 50% of what you were entitled at full retirement age). She can pick whichever benefits she wants. If you apply or not, it does not matter. You do not need to apply for her to claim benefits based on your records.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
How would I know if she has claimed benefits on my records? If she is claiming 50% of my benefits then I would prefer to hold off until 70 to increase my benefits. Is there any way I can find out my maximum exposure? It is difficult to make this decision without knowing what could happen.
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 6 months ago

You have to ask her. There's no other way. But if she did or did not, it will not affect your benefits in any way. You can wait until 70 to get your benefits. Your benefits belongs to you, her benefits belongs to her.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
It was my understanding that my ex-wife would not have access to my records since she remarried; which she did. Is the wording currently married or just remarried? To be clear, if she is 62 or older and has remarried, but is currently unmarried due to spouse passing or divorce, then she could elect to claim up to 50% of my benefits. That is what I believe you are telling me. If she claims 50% of my SS benefits today, and I elect to hold off retirement until age 70 will my benefits still increase. Or, will I also be exposed to her claiming 50% of my additional benefits for waiting until age 70?
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 6 months ago

Your ex-spouse does not have access to your records but the social security does. And when she applies the SS agent is required to check all her option, including benefits based on your records. If she remarried after 60 she could collect benefits based on your records even if she was still married.

And again, she is NOT GETTING YOUR BENEFITS. She is claiming her own benefits that are based on your records. What she does with her options (claim her survivor, spousal or her own benefits) will not affect your benefits in any way. Your and her benefits are not connecting. You can apply for your own benefits now and she can continue claiming her own based on your records. You can wait until 70 and let your own grow and she still can claim her benefits based on your records. It is like two eggs in two separate baskets.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Ok, I believe that answers all of my questions. The SS Admin is currently showing my benefits at 66 to be $2,000.00; Therefore, no matter what my ex-wife does, I would receive $2,000.00 if I decide to file for benefits at 66. Just want to ensure that I absolutely understand how this works. Lastly, I assume that my current wife of 28 years would receive the full $2,000 if I were to pass away. Thanks,
Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 6 months ago

Yes, if you apply now you will get 2K per month or you can wait and your benefits will grow 8% per year until 70. After your death your current as well as your ex will be eligible for widows/surviving benefits that could be as much as 100% of benefits you will be receiving at the time of your death. To get 100% they need to wait until their full retirement age to apply.

For instance, if your ex applies at 64 and your current spouse applies for her benefits at 66, your ex will get about 85% and your current spouse will get 100%. Again, both of them will be receiving their own benefits, 2 eggs in two separate basket.

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Social Security Expert: emc011075, Tax Adviser replied 6 months ago

I see you read my respond. Do you have any questions? Is there anything else I can help you with today?

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