Dear Penny: Is It Possible to Stop My Ex-Wife from Claiming Half of My Social Security Benefits?

Respected R.,

If your ex-wife made more than you, she very probably would receive more money from her personal Social Security benefits.

However, even if you earned more money, you have no cause to fear that your ex will “come after” your Social Security benefits. Her advantage has no bearing on yours and vice versa.

There appears to be a misunderstanding at the heart of your concern – that when you claim your ex’s Social Security, you are somehow depriving them of money. That is completely untrue.

Social Security does not have a fund set out specifically for you. Rather than that, you contribute to the Social Security trust fund through payroll taxes. When you become eligible to begin collecting, your benefits are computed using your contributed amount.

Alternatively, you may be eligible for spousal benefits if you are married or divorced. In that instance, Social Security calculates your payment based on the wages of your current or past spouse rather than on your own.

The critical thing here is that Social Security would not deduct funds from your ex’s cheque and give them to you. Nor would they send your ex part of your check.

They’ll utilize the previous spouse’s employment history if it leads to a higher salary for the applicant. Social Security will pay you the greater of the two benefits, but not both.

Nobody can prohibit their ex from obtaining their Social Security benefits. While some divorce agreements state that one spouse would abandon their entitlement to receive the benefits of the other spouse, the Social Security Administration asserts that these clauses are “meaningless and seldom implemented.”

To address your question, it appears as though you would qualify for your ex-benefits wife as long as you are not married at the time. Your marriage lasted ten years, and you have been divorced for more than two years, which Social Security requires.

However, you should not be startled if you qualify for additional Social Security benefits on your own. The maximum compensation available through spousal benefits is 50% of their primary insurance coverage, regardless of whether you are a current or previous spouse.

That is the benefit for which you are qualified at full retirement age, which is 67 for everyone born after 1960. Individuals who work for most of their adult lives frequently qualify for higher benefits on their own, even if married to someone who earns more.

If you file for Social Security early, your payout will be much less than half. If you began collecting at age 62, the earliest age you become eligible, you would get just 32.5 percent of your ex-entire wife’s benefit.

Additionally, you cannot collect 8% delayed retirement credits each year if you delay retiring past the full retirement age. Your payout would be limited to 50% of the amount of your ex’s primary insurance.

Fortunately, this does not have to be a guessing game. When you apply for Social Security, you can request that your retirement benefit and spousal benefit be calculated.

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Whichever advantage is greater is what you will receive. Additionally, you may utilize Social Security’s online calculators to determine your retirement vs. spousal benefits.

When the time comes to claim benefits, Social Security will need to locate your ex-file. Wife’s If you still have her Social Security number, this process will be a lot easier.

Otherwise, you may be required to disclose her birth date, place of birth, and the names of her parents. Additionally, you should provide a copy of your marriage certificate and divorce decree.

The basic truth is that your ex-Social spouse’s Security benefits do not deserve to take up any space in your head. Concentrate on obtaining the most profit for yourself, whether your own or your ex’s.