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Old 06-04-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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I've wondered how this works. Does the ex-spouse get 1/2 her living ex-husband's SS benefit while the ex-husband gets his full SS benefit? And, when he dies, do all ex-wives who were married to him for more than 10 years get his full SS benefit???


Edited to add that my interest is curiosity only, as I'm not eligible for such benefit.
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Old 06-04-2009, 03:57 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasfirewheel View Post
I've wondered how this works. Does the ex-spouse get 1/2 her living ex-husband's SS benefit while the ex-husband gets his full SS benefit? And, when he dies, do all ex-wives who were married to him for more than 10 years get his full SS benefit???


Edited to add that my interest is curiosity only, as I'm not eligible for such benefit.
Yes.

Any spouse who is either currently married or was married for 10 years or more is entitled to 1/2 of her spouse or ex's SS benefit if it is more than her own benefit. When the spouse dies, then she and all the ex-wives each get his full benefit. If the ex has more than one ex-spouse with SS greater than her own, then she can only choose which one has the greater benefit.

If the ex's own SS is greater than 1/2 the ex's benefit while he is alive, then she gets her own benefit. If when her ex dies, his full benefit is greater than her own, then she gets his full benefit. This last situation is what happened to my mother when my father died and it really helped her a lot!

Of course it applies if the woman was the higher earner too.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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So, theoretically, 2 (or more) ex-wives who never paid into SS could draw the same SS amount for many years? Does that seem right???????????? If I were one of the ex-wives, I might think so -- but, as someone who's paid into SS for 35 years, I'm a bit miffed at that idea.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasfirewheel View Post
So, theoretically, 2 (or more) ex-wives who never paid into SS could draw the same SS amount for many years? Does that seem right???????????? If I were one of the ex-wives, I might think so -- but, as someone who's paid into SS for 35 years, I'm a bit miffed at that idea.

I think the purpose is to protect the women who stayed home to raise a
family so the husband could work.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:28 PM
 
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I realize that. But I know an ex-wife who was married for 10.5 years and never had any kids. 1/2 her ex-husband's SS is more than her SS, so she's currently drawing on his. The ex-husband and his current wife (who also has no kids) are drawing his full SS, as well. And, when he dies, both the ex-wife and the current wife will draw his full SS amount.

Edited to add that, since both the ex-wife and the current wife are only 65 and in good health, they could draw on his SS for 20 or more years. Gosh, if I were a guy who had a couple of ex-wives drawing 1/2 of my SS, I might be looking over my shoulder just to make sure I didnt come to any untimely end (whereby the SS payments to the ex-wives would double).
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Old 06-04-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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You bet and carry on inusrance policy.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Originally from Boston area -- moving to Alabama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texasfirewheel View Post
So, theoretically, 2 (or more) ex-wives who never paid into SS could draw the same SS amount for many years? Does that seem right???????????? If I were one of the ex-wives, I might think so -- but, as someone who's paid into SS for 35 years, I'm a bit miffed at that idea.
I was a bit more than miffed when my late husband of only one year died. I was told that his x-wife, who cheated on him and broke his heart, was entitled to his ss and I was not. Not that I wanted or needed his ss, but if I did, I would have been up a creek.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:19 AM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
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But then my mother who didn't work for $$ for 22 years to raise us and moved regularly with his job so she was prevented from earning a living for the whole of 35 years to get her own (plus greatly diminished earning capacity) was helped greatly when he died. She had to wait til age 80 to get the higher amount. And she was the one who was cheated on. And she didn't even ask for it - the SSA called her to tell her she was entitled to more.

Anyone who would murder for a measly additional $10-15k per year is so pathetic as to be unbelievable. Anyone that criminal should pursue more profitable crime. We are not talking a huge killing here. We are talking about people who live on the margins of poverty getting enough to live very modestly.

They have to apply the law evenly and do not get into individual cases or immorality.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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Anyone who would murder for a measly additional $10-15k per year is so pathetic as to be unbelievable.

My comment was, of course, tongue-in-cheek....as is my observation that there are plenty of women who'd willingly kill their ex-husbands for many more reasons than just increased SS benefits.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
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Southernatheart: A widow may collect her deceased husband's benefits if she is of retirement age, was married to the deceased worker for at least nine months, has not remarried AND the deceased spouse's benefit is greater than the one she would receive on her own work record. (You can't "double dip.") I don't know why you would have been denied his benefits unless you did not meet the criteria.

Texasfirewheel,

The average monthly spousal check is only $570.00. If she has no other resources/assets she could get another $104 of SSI. I am intentionally using "she" because unmarried women are by far the greatest majority of retirees living below the poverty level.

Interestingly, it wasn't until the 1960's that a divorced spouse was entitled to receive a share of her ex-spouse's benefits. At that time, a divorcee had to prove that she had been financially dependent on her ex-spouse and had been married to him for 20 years. Congress eventually removed the dependency requirement and reduced the length of marriage to 10 years.

Although I used to think that Congress would eliminate or modify the divorced spouses' benefits, I'm not so sure anymore. The Social Security Administration is well aware that over 50% of unmarried women receive most of their income from their ss check. They are already living at or near the poverty level.

One possibility would be to treat a worker's social security benefit the same as a pension. A pension is considered marital property and is usually divided between the divorcing parties in relation to length of marriage, etc. On the one hand, the taxpayers wouldn't be supporting a current spouse, multiple ex-wives, etc.; on the other hand, we'd have an increase in the number of spouses and ex-spouses living in poverty, including men!
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