We moved overseas. Can my wife get survivor benefits from Social Security?

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Q. I am retired and I started getting Social Security at age 65. My wife of 10 years and I have moved to the Philippines. Can my wife collect benefits if I pass away? She is a Philippines citizen.
— Husband

A. Determining whether a spouse is eligible is complicated.

But the Social Security Administration offers an online calculator to help determine whether your spouse could collect survivor benefits while living in the Philippines, said Howard Hook, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with EKS Associates in Princeton.

“Using the tool and assuming that your spouse has resided in the U.S. for at least five years, then she would be eligible for survivor benefits,” Hook said. “The five-year residency requirement is due to the fact that the Philippines does not have a Social Security agreement with the U.S.”

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This story was originally published on Sept. 24, 2020.

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