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Old 01-04-2018, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Ypsilanti, MI
2,452 posts, read 3,673,115 times
Reputation: 4835

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My MIL is 79 years old and receives a Pension and SS payments from her own employment years ago. This income is now just paying her bills.


She and her second husband divorced about 25 years ago after 17-18 years of marriage, neither remarried.


She retired at age 62, he was a year or two younger and may have retired early as well.


Her ex died about 10 years ago.


She worked for GM as an hourly employee and he worked for Bissell as an hourly employee so her earnings "probably" exceeded his.


Can she qualify for Survivor's SS Benefit based on her ex-husband's earnings?


The SSA site has the answer for everything in this scenario except for the issue that her benefits probably exceeded his.


If the answer is a Yes, with documented links, we will try to get her to file to help with her current cash flow situation.


Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:38 PM
 
45 posts, read 21,954 times
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Only the people at SSA can answer that question. Tell her to call 1-800-772-1213 between 7am and 7pm.

They will compare his benefit to 82.5% of his PIA and use the larger of the two figures. If it exceeds her benefit, she can apply to get the difference between his and hers. If her own benefit is higher than the larger of his two figures, there is no additional money to pay her.

If she can be paid under his record, she can get 6 months of retroactive benefits for the difference.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:40 AM
 
164 posts, read 92,697 times
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reminds me of this article

"Want one last dig at your ex? Then collect on their Social Security"

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/11/yes-...-security.html
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Old 01-05-2018, 02:43 AM
 
71,766 posts, read 71,875,234 times
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i am not sure what advice you are looking for here ? there is know way for anyone here to give you an answer . it is all about the benefits each has and who's is bigger
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:07 AM
 
Location: R.I.
980 posts, read 607,475 times
Reputation: 4263
Quote:
Originally Posted by MI-Roger View Post
My MIL is 79 years old and receives a Pension and SS payments from her own employment years ago. This income is now just paying her bills.


She and her second husband divorced about 25 years ago after 17-18 years of marriage, neither remarried.


She retired at age 62, he was a year or two younger and may have retired early as well.


Her ex died about 10 years ago.


She worked for GM as an hourly employee and he worked for Bissell as an hourly employee so her earnings "probably" exceeded his.


Can she qualify for Survivor's SS Benefit based on her ex-husband's earnings?


The SSA site has the answer for everything in this scenario except for the issue that her benefits probably exceeded his.


If the answer is a Yes, with documented links, we will try to get her to file to help with her current cash flow situation.


Thanks in advance.
Sounds crazy but if your mother never remarried upon the death of her ex spouse even if he married multiple times following the divorce she and possibly several other women would be considered his widows and would be eligible to collect on his benefit. Also, had your mother remarried x 10 or more years but that spouse also died she would be considered a widow to both and would be eligible to collect on not both but either spouse's benefit if either was higher than hers.

The age your mother began collecting on her benefit and how long she has collected that benefit has no impact on her ability to collect a survivor's benefit. What will have an impact is when her deceased ex spouse began to collect his own benefit, and if that amount he collected before, at, or after his FRA and it was less than what your mother currently receives switching to his benefit would not benefit her because her benefit is higher.

From the time line info you gave, with your mother currently age 79 and this man being two years younger that her had he been still living he would be now age 77. So if he died around 10 years ago that would make him around 67 at the time of his death. Unlike your mother who began collecting her reduced benefit at age 62, her ex could have collected at his own FRA or possibly died before he even collected. If that is the case and his benefit was or could have been higher than your mother's reduced benefit then she would be eligible to switch to that benefit. Definitely worth your mother contacting SS so they can pull up her late ex's record to determine if or when he collected and the amount.

I have an aunt currently age 90 that was married 3 x, and that last two marriages were > 10 years. Both husband # 2 and 3 died so she was considered to be a widow to both. It turned out that her survivor's benefit for husband # 2 was higher than it would be for husband # 3 and both higher than her own so she following the death of husband # 3 began collecting on husband's #2s benefit.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:18 AM
 
Location: Ypsilanti, MI
2,452 posts, read 3,673,115 times
Reputation: 4835
Quote:
The age your mother began collecting on her benefit and how long she has collected that benefit has no impact on her ability to collect a survivor's benefit. What will have an impact is when her deceased ex spouse began to collect his own benefit, and if that amount he collected before, at, or after his FRA and it was less than what your mother currently receives switching to his benefit would not benefit her because her benefit is higher.
Thank you Nightengale212!

I suspected there would be no benefit available to her since she had a slightly higher paying job when they were both working. I scanned lots of SSA on-line brochures but could not find this situation described. He died of lung cancer following years of illness so I am confident he retired early as well

Thanks again.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:44 AM
 
71,766 posts, read 71,875,234 times
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you always get the highest benefit . it would never pay to take a lower one .

the only tricky situations are when you take survivor first while letting your own grow to 70 . then you need to see if you switch would your 70 be higher .
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Old 01-05-2018, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Northern panhandle WV
3,007 posts, read 2,176,472 times
Reputation: 6696
You can always apply for any benefit you think you might qualify for it doesn't hurt anything, most likely she is making more on her own now that his would be, but you can try and see.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:09 PM
 
Location: R.I.
980 posts, read 607,475 times
Reputation: 4263
Quote:
Originally Posted by MI-Roger View Post
Thank you Nightengale212!

I suspected there would be no benefit available to her since she had a slightly higher paying job when they were both working. I scanned lots of SSA on-line brochures but could not find this situation described. He died of lung cancer following years of illness so I am confident he retired early as well

Thanks again.
Just curious what happened to husband #1 ? If he died young like my late husband who was 49, SS does a calculation for those who died before they were eligible to collect to figure out by their past work history what their income would have likely been if they worked to and collected at their FRA. Had my husband lived he would have turn his FRA of 66 this coming June. In 2015 with much teeth pulling SS did a survivor's benefit calculation for me. Even though the annuitant being my late husband is deceased the survivor's benefit continues to grow by COLAS no different than if the annuitant was alive an collecting. So my survivor's benefit will grow with whatever COLAS are issued between now and when I begin collecting on it at my own FRA of 66.6 which is in 5.5 years.

So if husband # 1 died young, even if he earned less than your mother, since she claimed her reduced benefit at 62 this husband's FRA benefit could be higher and she may be eligible to claim on it.
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Old 01-06-2018, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Ocala, FL
407 posts, read 475,478 times
Reputation: 1299
My sister collects on her first husband's SS. After he died, SS contacted her and told her that her benefits she was already collecting off her second husband would increase about $100 a month, just out of the blue. She didn't know he had passed as they were divorced probably 30 years and she didn't even know where he lived. SS also changed her date of payment to that of her first ex-husband.

My guess is your mom is already collecting the maximum benefits, but it wouldn't hurt to call SS and ask.
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