What Every Woman Should Know About Social Security

Suze OrmanRetirement planning is especially challenging for women. We tend to live longer, and it’s not uncommon to have “off-ramped” from work at some point(s) to raise kids or care for a loved one. And because this affects lifetime earnings, it may also affect your eventual Social Security benefit. Don’t get me started on the gender wage gap.

Here’s what women need to understand about Social Security.

  1. You can claim a benefit based on your own work history, or you may be able to claim a benefit based on your spouse’s Social Security earnings record.
  2. You are eligible for Social Security if you have worked (and paid into the system) for 40 quarters, which is 10 years.
  3. Your benefit is based on the highest 35 years of earnings. That’s where working through your 60s might be helpful, if it knocks out some of your lower-income years from your benefit computation.
  4. If you are eligible for benefits based on your own work, and also benefits based on someone else’s work, such as your spouse, you will get your own benefit first. If the benefit you are eligible for based on someone else’s work is higher than your own, you will get a combination of the two that equals the higher amount.
  5.  If you were married at least 10 years before you divorced or if your marriage ended in death, you may be eligible to claim a benefit based on your former or deceased spouse’s Social Security record.

SSA does not endorse any particular financial advisory product or service.

 

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116 thoughts on “What Every Woman Should Know About Social Security

  1. What is very sad is if you are a Widow, with no children, and still have the expenses of a two income home and are now a one income home and cannot draw from you spouses record until you are 60 years of age…that just does seem fair.

    • why do people think that ss is welfare it’s not and there are guide lines and if you don’t meet those guide lines don’t get mad that’s why you should vote and put in the politician that’s looking out for your interest they are the one who make the laws for ss and stop looking for handout prepare yourself for when you retire as for myself i started when i was in my 20’s and now I’m in my 60’s retired from the navy reserve and at&t at 56 plus holding off on my ss until 66 not worrying about if i don’t live that just thinking about if i do then life will be much easier or my wife will be okif i should pass in which my ss will be there for her,she is getting her ss now but that’s what wrong with people today they are all about self and now instead of planning for the future,when i was young i lived for the future if i didn’t make it so what but if i do great i’m now 64 and retired and my wife and i are living comfortable.

      • Well, “OD” – YOU are super lucky! You can do the right things, marriage, hard working, careers and carry insurance ALWAYS and every kind but guess what? Catastrophic accident or ILLNESS can hit at any time and wipe everything out – causing even the best preparations to fail. Don’t be snide, you never know what the future holds! SSA has rules including WAIT times which can deplete any savings …be prepared!

        • Yes, they purposely cheat workers who have their credits at hard times such as car accidents that lead to permanent disabilities. They are the worse kinds of people, take a look at their rulings by their judges. A mom in charge of minors, had a car accident and the judge told her they’re not paying for daycare and she can watch kids while on narcotics. SSA judges are biased, unfair and cheats. The whole SSA is a complete fraud.

      • No one thinks its a hand out! My husband passed away and he worked hard many days of his life paying into SS . I, his widow, have every right to that money. What’s wrong here is the state has no right to
        keep it!!

        • 100 percent right. The State hires third party claim representatives to time you out of your benefits. The rest they’ve moved towards automated rejections now for years.

      • Wow, OD you really sound proud. To proud to understand everyone’s situation is not like yours. If anything happened to you and the system denied your spouse your benefits, she may need the assistance of state or government then what would you think. It would have been nice to hear you offer some helpful advise for Tammie’s comment or not say anything at all….crickets.. crickets…

      • Mr. Snidely,
        The topic is about women not men. You don’t know what it will be like for your wife if you die.
        The SS stays the same and Medicare and Supplement Premiums increase each year, Deductibles and CoPays increase each year. My guess is that 5 years after you die she will be flat broke. The house will fall apart with no funds for repairs, etc. etc. Only women on SS at this time should be responding to this topic. Stay off women topics that you know nothing about and I won’t answer prostate cancer topics.

    • What if someone with no children gets divorced from their spouse and they are left with the expenses of a two income home and only have one income.

      Would it be Social Security’s job to pick up the tab? No, it would not be…..

      The rules in place are set by Congress, they set forth the 60 years of age minimum to be able to collect survivors benefits.

      Your complaints should be sent to your Congressman, the highest person in all of Social Security does not have the authority to change this rule. Your complaint should be given to them.

      Spouse’s pass away and also spouse’s get divorced from each other everyday. Couples go from two income households to one income households all the time.

      • Normally they use to make workers with brains but from your comment I see you don’t have one. A perfect employee working for Social Security Administration. Do you ever think of the stress of unexpected deaths and what these families go through? Or does the computer think for you to automatically deny.

    • And then you only get 60% because you are not 65. And it doesn’t change either when you turn 65. And you cannot draw your own SS even if you worked all your life. Oh woe the widow!

  2. Question regarding #4 – If one is working at the time of death of spouse, will they continue to receive SS as spouse was receiving?

    Thank you for all your helpful information.

    • Good question! The amount of your widow or widower benefit is based on several factors, including: the earnings of the person who died, when the deceased worker started receiving their benefits, your age at the time of your spouse’s death, and the amount of your retirement benefits from your own work record. We compare your own benefit with your potential survivor benefit. If your survivor benefit would be higher than your own current retirement benefit at the time of your spouse’s passing, you would be eligible for survivor benefits.

      Typically, a widow or widower at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount, a widow or widower under full retirement age receives about 71 to 99 percent of the worker’s benefit amount, and a widow or widower with a child younger than age 16 receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. However, there are other factors that could affect your benefit, such as earnings limits, and remarriage. For more information, visit our Survivor Planner webpage. Hope this helps!

  3. I plan to sell my home which is in my own living trust as the sole owner. When I sell it can I get the tax deduction on the gain as a couple or only by myself. (250,000 or 500,000) ? Please help!

    • Hi, Marie. Thanks for your question but unfortunately, we are not tax experts. For tax questions, you will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040 or you can visit the IRS website. We hope this helps.

    • If you file as single, you will only get the 250,000 excludable gain. If you sell in the year that your husband passed away and you are filing jointly for that year, then you will get the $500,000 excludable (assuming of course, that this has been your primary residence for at least 2 of the last 5 years).

  4. Why is so hard to set up an account with SSA when we are living in a Country like Germany. When we give a Out of Country address as well as telephone number , the info on the inrollment page will not take the info.

  5. It is important to distinguish between the rules for SS Retirement and SS Disability. For adults, work credits for Disability purposes must be current. (Generally, at least 20 of the last 40 quarters before the disability onset, with variations based on the age of the claimant.) As an attorney who has helped people with their SS Disability claims for more than 20 years, I have seen a lot of stay-at-home moms who are ineligible for SSD because they don’t have enough recent work credits. I am now also seeing baby-boomers leaving jobs before full retirement age to take care of their elderly parents, which also creates a risk that they won’t have sufficient credits if they become disabled themselves. People who work can earn up to 4 credits a year. The amount of wages/profit to earn 4 credits changes each year, but is not very much. Everyone should work enough each year to earn the 4 credits so that they are protected. Spouses don’t get the benefit of each other’s work history for Disability.

  6. what if you are remarried and your ex of 20 years makes more than your current spouse. Can you claim off your ex instead of your current spouse?

    • Hi, Shelia. Thanks for your question. Here are the requirements to receive benefits if you are divorced:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You are age 62 or older;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work. This means that if you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on that record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. For more information, check out our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced webpage.

      We recommend that you read our publication, “What Every Woman Should Know” for more important information. Thanks

      • I haven’t read everything yet, but my circumstance meets all the requirements, aside the fact my ex is still living !!! He is 79 Because of family / new spouse ill feelings, they would never give me a copy of death certificate. How will I acquire one, should the time come ?

  7. I’m been working at lease 10years in this country I am became disable.ssa stop my ssi check they says my make too much money on March1,2017 my check stop l request for an appeal is dined.I aploy for retiment is dined ssa telling I have25 credit I need 40 credit ssa dined me all the benefits.now what I supose to do I 63 years old I have Health conditions.major depression bipolar Diabetes high blood pressure sleep desorder ptsd.in I am medication for phisical and mental issues please I need help.

    • LESLY FRANCOIS, before a person is 65, if they are found disabled by SSA they can receive SSI if they have little to no income and resources. Income more than $20 a month is counted against monthly SSI benefits. Based on what you stated, you earn too much to be eligible for SSI on financial criteria. If you do not receive SSI for 12 months, you have to file a new application.

      For those that are 65 or older, have less then 40 work credits, have little to no income and resources they may be eligible for SSI based on age.

      You may or may not be eligible for Medicaid in your state. You need to contact your State Medicaid Office. If you are not eligible for Medicaid, look for Free/Sliding Scale Clinics in your area and Teaching Hospitals.

    • Hi Donna. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if they have remarried) if:
      •You are unmarried;
      •You are age 62 or older;
      •Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
      •The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

  8. I am 68 years old and still working. I was married for 20 years and then divorced. When I turned 66, which was my SS age to collect full benefits, I, instead, opted to collect on my ex-spouse’s benefit, even though it is less than my own record. I am deferring my own benefit until I am no longer employed. Then I will switch and apply for my own benefit (you can’t collect on both), which will be slightly greater because of my deferment.

    At first, I thought, once you collect, you can not switch, but I did this at the suggestion of my social security office; they told me that I absolutely can defer my own; that there is no penalty because I have already reached full retirement age for social security. I think this will work out well for me, and thought to post this, should anyone else be in a similar circumstance.

  9. I had to retire at 62 before full retirement age of 66 because of bad health. My husband’s full ss amount is more than mine. If he predeceases me, can I choose to have his ss rather than keep mine? i am now 68 and he is 71. Neither of us is working.

    • Hi Cathy, if you’re getting benefits based on your own work, you will have to contact us. We’ll check to see if you can get more money as a widow. If so, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount. You must complete an application to switch to survivors benefits. Social Security uses the deceased worker’s basic benefit amount to calculate the percentage survivors can get. The percentage depends on the survivor’s age and relationship to the worker. If the worker who died was getting reduced benefits, we’ll base your survivor’s benefit on that amount. In most typical claims for benefits, a widow or widower, at full retirement age or older, generally gets 100 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount. We hope this information helps.

  10. So let me go over this.
    I was married for 27+years
    I divorced him.
    Was getting his SS.
    I remarried the man was police officer so I get nothing from him.
    I only get mine at a wonderful 300.00 a month.
    I was told that’s all I get since my ex is still living.

  11. my ex did our taxes every year and unbeknownst to me when he did them he declared almost no income for me some of the years and very low income for the others. We were married 24 years. I had no idea he was doing this because I did not understand how to file tax returns and he solely did them every year and then would shove the papers in front of my and instruct me to “Sign here”. I never imagined that he would cheat me especially since I gave up my full time job in 1978 to be a stay at home mom when we started having children. If I had not given up my full time job and continued working I have calculated that my income would be well over $2300 . Still cannot bring myself to believe that someone could be so devious and deceitful, especially to the mother of his children !. Bad enough that I lost all of that income of full time working – but for him to take my part tie income …… and put it on his income and leave me with little or no income for all of our 24 years of marriage is so unfair ! How does someone play such a nasty trick on the mother of his children ? he is going to be collecting over $3000.00 per month and mine is only $800 ! How unfair is this ! I am having such a hard time making ends meet and he is walking on air !
    I didn’t find out about this until the day I went to the SS office and the representative told me I was only going to get ab out $430 a month and when I asked why he said because you barely worked during your married years. I told him I did work all those years – part time – and he turned the screen around and showed me all the years of NO INCOME or very little income while I was married. So so wrong of him, and to never tell me and let me have to find out when I went to apply for benefits? I called him up later that day and asked him why he did that to me and he nastily replied that the day we got divorced all of his promises went out the door, along with my social security.

    • Sounds like the man I will be divorced from soon. I am finding many evil things he did to mess up the rest of my life financially because he is with a much younger woman. I am nothing to him anymore, and she will receive his 401k worth $500,000, and I will be lucky to keep our old beat up home. I would never have done something like this to him. I could end up homeless with all my health conditions. Hope that things will get better for you. Maria

    • Have you contacted the IRS about the errors in your income reporting? Don’t forget your employers all had to send record of your income to the IRS under your social security number. It could be fixable.

  12. This question is for an expert. I was married for 22 years. I am 62 now and my ex 63. When I reach full retirement age can I collect half of my exes record and let my own record increase until 70. The reason I am asking is because I read that if you are born after Jan 1954 this is not so. Can you explain the best scenario for me. I would consider delaying my own benefits if this is more advantageous and allowed.

  13. I’m still working and I’m planning to retire at 66 for getting full SS check but my husband is not wait like me, he is not working since 5 year ago after 25 year worked then this year he is 62, he’ll apply for his SS check. What will relating between my SS and his?

  14. I was married for over thirty years. My ex-spouse is two years younger than me. When I reach my full retirement age at 66 & 4 months, can I then collect half of his SS? He worked 38 years and is still living. I visited a SS office today, and was told that I cannot collect on my ex’s SS until we have been divorced for two years. The man who helped me was sitting behind a glass partition and it was hard to hear him. Thank you

  15. Would you tell me please, I have been married over 30 years, but we live in different states. Can I collect on his social security when I’m 62 years old even if he is younger? I’ll be 62 April of 2018, and he’ll be 62 July of 2020.

  16. What happens if I never claim my social security benefits because I want to work beyond my full retirement age? Are you forced to take SS? Thanks!

    • Hi! Thank you for your question. First, you should know that you can still work and receive your Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. As a matter of fact, if you work and are full retirement age or older, the amount you make at work will not affect your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn. You become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits when you reach your full retirement age. Also, you earn delayed retirement credits automatically when and if you delay getting your benefit beyond your full retirement age, up until age 70. Delayed retirement credits increase your monthly benefit amount. The yearly rate of increase for those born in 1943 or later is 8%. However, the benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits. If you decide to delay your retirement, remember to sign up for Medicare at age 65. We hope this information helps!

  17. I am 64 years old and my last date of work is June 16, 2017 due to downsize of Company. I will turn 65 9/1/17. I do not want to collect full social security benefits until 66 next year. Can I collect partial of my husbands benefits when I turn 65, or now and then get my full retirement benefit at 66?

    • Thank you for your question Rita. You would have to reach your full retirement age to apply and receive only the spouse’s benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefit until a later date. If you turn 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if you file at your full retirement age or later. Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to one-half the amount your spouse is entitled to receive at their full retirement age. However, if a person begins to receive benefits prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for. You could still be eligible to collect reduced benefits on your spouse’s record. Remember, if someone is eligible for both, his or her own benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay their own first. If their spousal benefits are higher than their own retirement benefits, he or she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. If you have specific questions, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and speak with one of our representatives. We hope this information helps!

  18. My dear husband and I were married for slightly over 60 years when he died. We both were 80 and had been retired for several years. During part of our married life, I was a stay-at-home wife and mother.
    When I worked, I was a public school teacher which, as everyone knows, are not paid livable wages unless they work extra jobs weekends and summers. In Texas, my school deducted our retirement amounts and put into TRS (Teacher Retirement System). TRS hired its own managers and invested the money much as any corporation would do. I retired after teaching 27 years.
    My husband worked throughout our married life and together we paid our taxes (Independent store owner) and reared a son who also became a responsible tax payer.
    When my husband died, I was informed by SS that because of the GPO (Government Pension Offset), I would receive “0” of my husband’s survivor’s benefits. On July 8, 2017, he will have been gone for one year, yet I still do not receive any survivor’s benefits. I receive only my limited teacher retirement. When he was alive, my retirement with his SS, we managed very well, even though not lavishly. Now, I do not receive enough retirement to live on; consequently, I must supplement my monthly income from our limited savings. I don’t know what I will do once my savings are depleted. I have consulted with local SS people, and they tell me that receiving both Teacher retirement AND my husband’s survivor benefits would be “double dipping,” but I DO need my spousal portion of our 61 years of marriage.

  19. Why does SS calculate the highest earnings of the last 35 years that nearly going through all the labor years a person can have. Why doesn’t the SS consider the last 15 years which is more realistic than 35.

  20. If a person who has worked for 20 years and is 64 years old, dies what is the wives situation if she is currently 61 regarding his husbands SS retirement? Will she receive a monthly income? What happens with all the money her husband gave to the SS for 240 months?

  21. How is the retirement calculated?
    I have worked for 20 years and have earned in average $60,000 per year, meaning $5,000 per month.
    Why is it that if I retire at age 66 and 2 months I wuill only receive $1,750 and if I retire at age 70 I will receive $2,325?

  22. Why is it that we always hear that the SS is ending in year 2030 or 2032 or 203….
    First SS funding should not be used for other purposes which are not exclusively for Retirement payments.
    Secondly, why is it that new employees don’t pay 0.5% more for SS funding and avoid the horrendous thought that old people are not to receive SS when they are 70+ and guarantee the SS funding by increasing the amount to pay along with every paycheck in 0.5%
    If SS calculates what that additional income would mean you will see that SS will never be depleted in the next century while employees are only paying 0.5% more towards their retirement funding instead of paying additional 401(k) and IRA’s etc.

    After all contributing to an IRA or 401(k) pl;an will mean to contribute with at least 5% of earnings and by paying 0.5% of say $5,000 in a month will mean $25 and will guarantee a century of income.

  23. And then you only get 60% because you are not 65. And it doesn’t change either when you turn 65. And you cannot draw your own SS even if you worked all your life. Oh woe the widow!

  24. I would like to know more about what you think about when a single never married woman should take their Social Security benefits.

    Thank you,

  25. My wife and I are both 62. She is planning on starting her SS withdrawals next year at 63, but I am planning to wait until FRA. Will she still have access to my full spousal benefit when I reach FRA or will the spousal benefit be discounted since she started her withdrawal prior to her FRA?

    • Thank you for your question Cos. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for. Your wife may still be eligible to collect reduced benefits on your record when you apply. Remember, if someone is eligible for both, his or her own benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay their own first. If their spousal benefits are higher than their own retirement benefits, he or she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Please visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For Your Spouse for more information.

  26. I am 62, currently unemployed for the last year. I do not have a disability. If I do not draw SS benefits and do not work, will by benefits increase at 66 and 2 months, even if I did not work? I would live off of retirement savings and 1 small rental property. Income is $650 for rental and $200,000 in retirement investments. I still owe $34,000 on my home mortgage. What would you advise? Also, I am single.

    • Hello, Jeanette. The decision on when to file is a personal one. We can only provide you with the information to help you make the best choice according to your own situation.
      Our Retirement Estimator is exactly the calculator you are looking for! It gives you future estimates of your monthly Social Security benefits based on your actual Social Security earnings record.
      In addition, we have a variety of other calculators to help you plan for the future. Which calculator you choose depends on what you want to do. Also, we suggest that you can create a my Social Security account. With your personal my Social Security account, you can verify your earnings, get your Social Security Statement, and much more. Happy planning!
      You can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this information helps!

  27. Really a question–
    My wife will start in a few months drawing her social security at 62.
    My Social security will be higher than hers.
    If and when I pass does she then receive an increase in her social security to the amount I was receiving ?
    Ron

  28. Why isn’t SS telling the whole truth regarding divorced spouse benefits. We I (the wife) make more than half of the husbands benefit, then I get nothing. That is not what SS is saying. So after weeks of research, I finally get told that. SS said I could receive some of the ex-husbands benefits if he dies before me. He makes about $700 more than I do. I thought I could receive some of his to increase mine, but no. Seems so unfair. I have also found out that men receive a larger benefit even though the wife made more than him.

  29. I get full benefits now. My wife will get full benefits in a few years. So we will be getting double full benefits. Then I die. Does she still get her full benefit AND still get my full benefit – i.e. she still gets double full benefits?

    • Thank you for your question, Brad. The monthly benefit amount your wife would get as a widow is a percentage of your basic Social Security benefit. It also depends on her age, when she starts receiving those benefits.
      Also, keep in mind that while is possible for a person to be eligible to more than one benefit at the same time, we are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either record – meaning that your wife will only be allowed to receive one payment.
      Visit our Survivors Planner: How Much Would Your Benefit Be? for more information on this topic. We hope this helps!

  30. I’ve divorced my wife after 30 years of marriage. When I retire and begin to receive Social Security benefits, does my ex-wife get half of my total benefit. In other words if I’m suppose to get $1,500 a month will she get $750 and I get $750. I need to know how much I will lose if any because she is filing for SS using my work income.

    • Hello Robert, your ex-wife’s benefit as a divorced spouse can be equal to one-half of your full retirement amount -ONLY- if she starts receiving benefits at her full retirement age. Also, the amount of benefits your divorced spouse gets has no effect on the amount of benefits you may receive.
      We hope this information helps!

  31. The question I have is, could I draw off my husbands SS even if he’s still working and I’m disabled and drawing my disability? I’ve been getting my disability for about 9 or maybe 10 years now, but I’ve been disabled for 11yrs and when he realized I wasn’t going to be able to work any longer and bring money into the home. Well let’s just say he told me I had to go! And he made my life miserable so that I had no other choice but to move in with my sister around 2008!! It was the month of, I want to say August! I will not DIVORCE him, I can’t really see any reason to. But if someone could give me an answer I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thank you ever so much!

  32. I turned 62 in the fall of 2017. I am still working. If I wanted to retire early could I get benefits based on my husband’s salary, even though he is only 61 and still working?

    • Thank you for your question, Janet. Generally, a divorced spouse may be able to receive benefits on the ex-spouse’s record starting at age 62 or older. However, your ex-husband must be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
      Here are the additional requirements to receive benefits if you are divorced:
      • You are unmarried;
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

      Note: If your ex-husband does not apply for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them (at his age 62), you can receive benefits on his record if you have been divorced for at least two years. We hope this information helps!

    • Thank you for your question, Lucille. Please note that the article makes reference to: If you turning 62 before January 2, 2016, and if you file for benefits at your full retirement age or later. Then, deemed filing rules will not apply, and you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. This will allow you to restrict your application to apply only for spouse’s benefits and delay filing for your own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits.
      If your birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists.
      See the section “How Much Will I Receive? Of our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse, for more information. We hope this helps!

  33. My ex husband and I were married over 10 years. I have gone through pancreatic cancer and not well enough to go back to work. Where do I start requesting 1/2 of his social security. He is a architect and hs been since I met him.

    • Hello Judith, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at (your) age 62 if:
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.
      Also, you should know that we pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If you meet our definition of disability, You can apply online. Or call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thanks!

  34. Hello,
    I would like to retire in the next 6 months, and am having a hard time deciding if I should take spousal benefits, or my own benefits. I will be age 63 this year in September, and I am so ready to retire. If I take spousal benefits, I will only receive 35%.
    Thank You,
    Sherry

    • You may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse is receiving retirement or disability benefits. Also, if you qualify and apply for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit.
      See “What do the Recent Social Security Claiming Changes Mean for Me” for more information on the changes of the new law. We hope this information helps!

  35. I would like to know if, I can collect on my first Husbands benefits from being in the Navy for 4 years. I just saw a website, http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/military.htm, and it said that if someone was in active duty between Jan. 1957-Dec. 31, 2001, the money credited to their SS. Now, you can get refunded on that money? I cant seem to find a site to ask questions about it? Thank you

    • Hi Mary! If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if:
      •You are unmarried;
      •You are age 62 or older;
      •Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and
      •The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
      Your divorced spouse’s benefits are based on the ex-spouse’s earnings.
      Any military “special extra earnings” for your ex-spouse military service, are credited to your ex-spouse’s record for Social Security purposes only.
      Your benefit as a divorced spouse cannot exceed one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (or disability benefit) if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. See “If You’re Divorced” for more information.

  36. i am 70 years old (born 1948) and drawing social security, my spouse is 58 years old (born 1960). She has been a housewife and has not worked enough to draw social security. Can she draw spousal benefits? If not old enough, how old does she have to be to draw spousal benefits. My tax preparer says it may be possible because of my age.

  37. If my husband precedes me in death, will I automatically be assigned his benefits, or can I continue to draw my benefits until I am full retirement age, then switch to his full benefits?

    • Good question. Generally, survivors benefits are paid at a higher rate.
      If you already receive retirement benefits, you can only apply for benefits as a widow if the retirement benefit you receive is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor. The rules can be complicated and vary depending on the situation. You will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for further assistance. Thanks.

  38. I am currently drawing SS on my work history.
    How do I find out if I’m eligible to draw on my husbands.
    He is not deceased and currently drawing on his work history. His is more than mine but if could draw same as his that would really help financially. Thanks

    • Thank you for your question, Phyllis. If you qualify for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Your benefit as a spouse could be equal to one-half of your spouse’s full retirement amount -ONLY- if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age.
      Generally, when you apply for Social Security benefits, during the initial interview, we explore for other possible eligibility that can pay you a higher benefit amount.
      To see if you qualify for a higher benefit amount, please contact a Social Security representative. Thanks!

  39. I am widow getting benefits . when I die will my benefit from late husband, go to my son who is also getting benefits from his deceased father. Would my $1610. be combined with his $1681. or does he get a portion of the $1610.

    • Hi Nancy. Generally, we pay the highest benefit amount a person may be entitled to receive.
      Simultaneous entitlement exists when a claimant is entitled to a child’s benefit on two records. However, a person’s benefit amount can never exceed the highest of either benefit amount to which they are entitled to.
      The Social Security Act provides that a child entitled to child’s benefits on more than one SSN will receive benefits on only one. That child is actually entitled (paid) on one SSN and “technically entitled” on the other. Maximums from all SSNs that the child is entitled on may be combined on the SSN where payment is actually made.
      The rules are complicated and vary depending on the situation. We recommend that you speak to a Social Security representative. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or contact your local office directly. Thanks.

  40. i received SSI right now and i am 58 years old. Will i continue to receive the ssi when i reach retirement or will they switch me over when i reach 66.

    • Hi Kim! We pay disability via two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to be eligible, and the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), which pays benefits based on financial need.
      Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age. Generally, the benefit amount remains the same.
      If you receive SSI benefits and are insured for retirement benefits, you are required to apply for those benefits at age 62. We hope this information helps!

  41. Need an answer…….. are there tax discounts( property and school) for a retired widow of an armed forces husband .

  42. How much of my ss will my spouse get upon my death added to her ss ? my age is 81 and hers is 81 and both collect ss now. Both worked long enough to collect ss.

  43. I am divorced and disabled, reviving benefits based on my work history.Since disability benefits are not high enough to live on given the cost of Medicare and the deductible that needs to be met every year,prescription coverage is an added cost with high deductibles as well as increased money spent from living expenses (which can influence your ability to eat or pay rent) I am concerned about my future finances and wether I will be able to pay rent or buy items needed to survive.ai have been on SSDI since2012 and am now 58 yrs old.Medicare premiums have increased by 40$ over these few years as well as deductibles for Medicare have also increased by 30% since I began receiving benefits.COLA on 1% can not put a dent into increased Medicare and medical costs.If they don’t increase the benefit amount they can not raise premiums for Medicare.I would happily return the 1% increase in lieu of raising Medicare premiums and deductibles.I need medical care due to my disability and just when I need the benefits I can not afford the cost.Since I am not working I can not save for the future and my retirement benefit amount will never increase due to no income for these past years.My chances of increased yearly wage to wipe out the 0 income reported as wages for the year will remain stagnant.Unfourtunatly I can not apply these tactics to increased benefit amounts due to my inability to work.I still have my NYS registered nurse license and will try to maintain the status.I have worked since age 16 and now divorced after 32 years of marriage with limited income, along with life expectancy that continues to rise, I am literally terrified for my future.If you can work do so.Disability is one income you pray you never need.It hurts your future income as you need to work to increase retirement benefits.Have you ever really noticed how many seniors are working during their retirement?A substantial number of seniors that are employed now during their retirement.Just to be able to survive with your basic needs is nearly impossible,as pensions are just about obsolete now days and retired folks are dependent on SS for their expenses.And SS benefits are not sufficient for buying your basic needs.Paying taxes on your 403b plan reduces you income as withdraws are taxable income.And that is what most employers give to employees as a retirement option.If they match your contributions consider it a God send.After dischargeing patients to home early, so the full reimbursement could be made to the hospital, since the patient was discharged within the time frame given by Medicare using DRG codes.If discharge was made after the allotted time for hospitalization, based on DRG codes, the hospital would not receive the full reimbursement rate paid by Medicare.The bottom line is very high on budgetary benefits and cost analysts.How to cut costs was imbedded in our thoughts and performance.I always felt uneasy sending those home despite the fact there illness would become chronic and unmanageable due to their active disease not being properly controlled or patient lacked resources and education on disease progression and how to sufficiently achieve optimal health thru diet, exercise and modifiable health risks to remain healthy.And disease prevention.Who had the opportunity to educate these individuals on their disease process and interventions to help their disease.Neverless prevention of future problems affecting daily living and disease process.We rushed them home only to be re admitted to hospital with current illness presenting in further progression impacting the severity and time needed for this new hospitalization.Scary.And I obeyed my employer and attending Dr.despite what I knew the facts to be.I was the one who provided bedside care and hourly assessments of patients.Not the attending or billing department.Discharge planning begins with hospital admission so it was known how long their stay would be based on DRG codes.Now I am that patient who will be denied needed care or procedures for Maintenence of preventive health and my independence.

  44. I turned 62, in April. I plan on working until I am 63. I was told that once I turned 62, I could collect part of my ex-husbands social security, he is still working. We divorced in 2008, and were married 25 years. I want to know if I would be eligible to collect it, even though I am still working full time. I would like to know the tax repercussions if I were to collect it now. I do get alimony, and part of his military pension. I work as an instructional assistant, so making under 40K.

    • Hi MaryAnn, if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you may be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record at age 62 or older. See our Retirement Planner: If You’re Divorced for other eligibility requirements and more detailed information.
      You can work while you receive Social Security retirement/divorced spouse benefits. However, in 2018, the annual earnings limit is $17,040 if you’re under full retirement age.
      If you are under full retirement age, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. See our Benefits Planner: Getting Benefits While Working for more information. Thanks!

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