I remarried. Can I collect on my ex-spouse’s Social Security?


Q. I was married and we got a divorce, but we both got remarried. Am I entitled to any Social Security of my first husband’s benefit after his death?
— Wondering

A. We’re sorry to hear of your loss.

Your remarriage is the issue here.

As a divorced spouse, you are eligible to collect on your earnings or your husband’s — whichever is the higher amount — as long as you meet certain criteria.

The maximum you would be able to collect would be 50% of his Full Retirement Amount (FRA) as long as he waited until at least that age to collect, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with Equitable Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

If he were to collect before his FRA, then you would be entitled to half of his primary insurance amount (PIA), she said.

But the key is that you would need to have been married for at least 10 years and not be remarried, she said.

Also, you would have needed to be divorced for at least two years and your ex-spouse would have to be at least age 62, she said.

“Remember that if you begin collecting before you reach your FRA, then your benefit will permanently be reduced,” D’Agostini said. “If your ex-spouse had not filed, and his benefit is higher, you could begin to claim on your benefit as early as age 62, then switch to his higher benefit when he files. Social Security will only pay the higher of the two.”

But given that you remarried, you’re no longer eligible for your ex’s benefits.

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This story was originally published on July 22, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.