Ask the Experts!
Here’s the question of the day.
Question: I have a client who is 66 and applying for Social Security retirement benefits. Is the client eligible to apply for benefits based on her 65 year old ex-spouse’s record, and able to switch to her own benefit at age 70?
Answer: Yes, if the conditions described below are met.
Here’s what the Social Security Administration says about retirement benefits for an ex-spouse:
If you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record (even if you have remarried) if:
- Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;
- Your ex-spouse is unmarried;
- Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older;
- The benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on his or her own work is less than the benefit he or she would receive based on your work; and
- You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
If you have not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, your ex-spouse can receive benefits on your record if you have been divorced for at least two years.
Finally, here’s a key excerpt from the website about switching benefits later:
(If) your divorced spouse has reached full retirement age and is eligible for a spouse’s benefit and his or her own retirement benefit, he or she has a choice.
Your divorced spouse can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefits when he or she applies online and delay receiving retirement benefits until a later date. If retirement benefits are delayed, a higher benefit may be received at a later date based on the effect of delayed retirement credits.
Have a question for the professionals at AUC? Feel welcome to submit it by email. We may post your question and the answer as the question of the day.