I’m remarried. Can I collect my ex’s benefits?

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Q. My ex-husband died at 59. He may have been on disability – I’m not sure – as he retired at age 56. We were married for 20 1/2 years I am on Social Security and have remarried. Am I able to get part of his Social Security? I’m sure his income was higher than my present husband’s income.
— Remarried

A. Whether you qualify depends on the specifics of your marriage and remarriage.

Widows can collect benefits as long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years and have not remarried before age 60, said Paul Criscione, a certified financial planner with Freedom Capital Management in Colts Neck.

The earliest allowable age to collect Social Security is age 62, but it’s possible your ex was collecting disability.

“Disability benefits convert into Social Security payments once the beneficiary turns full retirement age,” Criscione said.

He said although your ex-husband’s death precluded the transition to Social Security payments, you may be able to collect a spousal death benefit.

“You may want to allow the benefit you earned based on your work record to grow, increasing 8 percent per year, while collecting your ex-husband’s claim, although it could have been somewhat reduced,” he said.

But your remarriage could make you ineligible.

To know for sure, you need to contact your local Social Security office to obtain more complete information about your ex-husband’s benefit record and your own.

Without knowing his disability benefit amount, your age and benefit amount, and your present husband’s age and benefit amount, we can’t give you the specifics – but Social Security sure can.

Email your questions to moc.p1566185971leHye1566185971noMJN1566185971@ksA1566185971.