Return to the Retirement Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Spousal Social Security Benefit Question

Posted by weed30 (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 19, 12 at 20:07

I keep trying to read the SSA website, and other articles, but I still don't know the answer.


My dad applied for social security at age 65, for him that was full retirement age. He gets close to $1700/month. He is now 83.

He was married to my mom for more than 10 years, and then they divorced. She died in 2003. Her social security benefit was around $400. I am not positive if she was at full retirement age when she filed, in case that matters.

So my dad is considered a widower according to the SSA, and can apply for spousal benefits, but since my mom's benefit was so much lower, will he even get anything? According to the SSA, he is eligible for survivors benefits and soc security benefits.

I was going to help him apply, but the list of info you need is quite lengthy, esp. since they were divorced. I have to find their marriage certificate and their divorce papers among many other things...which will not be easy. So I thought I would try and take a shortcut and ask here, in case anyone knows :)

Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Spousal Social Security Benefit Question

He can get one OR the other, but not both. Since his own benefit is larger, it isn't worth applying for the spousal.

RE: Spousal Social Security Benefit Question

Jkom is right. You cannot collect two types of checks (benefits) at once. He could "potentially" receive widower's checks only if they were more than his own retirement checks , since they were legally married for over 10 years. . Sorry if this is bad news.

RE: Spousal Social Security Benefit Question

Thanks both for your answers. I figured that would be the case, but the language on the SSA site is not always particularly clear, to say the least.

RE: Spousal Social Security Benefit Question

(Hi Weedy. Long time, no see.)

RE: Spousal Social Security Benefit Question

Heya "ded", hope you're doing well!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Retirement Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here