Social Security for exes

Social Security for Exes
Social Security Admin. Poster, 1956

Social Security’s Legacy to Ex-Wives, Kids

By Kim Blanton,

June 13, 2017

“Many women are fuzzy on how Social Security benefits for widows work and even more unclear about the program’s spousal benefits.

I know two of these women. Their situations nicely illustrate how this federal program promotes the well-being of older women and families.

One is my divorced aunt. She was surprised to learn, after my uncle died a few years ago, that her widow’s – or survivor’s – benefit, based on his decades of work as a housing developer, would be double the spousal benefit she’d received while he was alive. Divorced spouses are eligible for the same spousal and survivor’s benefits as still-married spouses, though only if the marriage lasted more than 10 years.”

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Social Security Advice

Social Security Advice

Always Verify Advice on Social Security

by Laurence Kotlikoff, Seattle Times 

March 4, 2017


Q: I am now retiring and dealing with Social Security at age 66 after being married 18 years, divorced six years, and still single.

When I attempted to file and suspend, and then file for a restricted benefit based on my ex’s income (so I can delay until age 70 filing for my own maximum benefits), the local Social Security office told me I cannot file on my ex unless she has already filed for benefits. She is now 65 and does not want to file, but my understanding is it does not matter if she files or not. Am I correct? If so, how do I convince the local office?

A: My estimate is that half of Social Security’s answers to questions are either fully or partially wrong. And if they aren’t wrong, they are misleading.”

Financial decision making resources for divorcing or newly widowed women

If you are facing a divorce or if you are recently widowed, you may find the following financial decision making resources helpful.  When I was divorcing over 12 years ago, the judge ordered a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) written and submitted to my ex’s workplace so I was guaranteed a portion of his pension when he retires.  The QDRO also required I hire an expert to figure out the value of the account at the time of the divorce.  The judge ordered my ex and I to split the cost of these extras.

Learn more about QDROs and other important issues from the resources below from the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER). 

“Both divorce and widowhood can be extremely emotional and oftentimes unexpected events in a woman’s life. The difficulties are often further compounded by the practical issues that arise during these transitional periods. WISER has developed various resources to help make this time a bit less stressful and to help newly divorced or widowed women make smart and informed financial decisions.

Read moreFinancial decision making resources for divorcing or newly widowed women

Kiplinger’s Social Security Strategies

Read the entire article

Social Security Strategies if You’re DivorcedSocial Security strategies

Read the entire article

Social Security Strategies if You’re Single

Read the entire article

Social Security Strategies for Married Couples

All four of these articles are by Sandra Block, from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, January 2015.

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