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Spousal Social Security Benefit

I have a friend who is considering applying for Spousal benefits from  Social Security. Here is her info 63 years old Was married over 10 years when divorced  EX husband still alive. Question: Exactly how is spousal benefit determined based on above info? Is her benefit exactly 1/2 of former husbands SSN? Does Social Security take into account whatever earnings she might have had?  I don't believe she has anywhere enough earnings to qualify for her own SSN. Any help would be appreciated. Mike
Best to ask the SSA directly  View Here for the SSA discussion on benefits for divorcees
Your friend should be eligible for divorced spousal benefits if they have been divorced at least 2 years, he is at least 62 and eligible to claim benefits (but it makes no difference whether he is actually receiving benefits or not), and she is not remarried. The Social Security Administration will take into account her work history to determine what benefits she is entitled to on her own record. This is because SS will pay her the larger of either her own benefits or spousal benefits. As you mentioned, you suspect that her spousal benefits will be larger, so SS will first pay the benefits based on her own record and add to that additional benefits based on her ex's work history until the total is equal to the spousal benefits that she is eligible for. It's kind of a stupid technical thing but I'm sure there is a reason they do it that way. In any event, she it should be all the same to her.

As for how much she will receive … full divorced spousal benefits are the same as regular spousal benefits and are equal to 1/2 of the spouse's PIA (primary insurance amount) which is the amount the spouse would receive if claiming at Full Retirement Age (FRA). But he does not have to be full retirement age for her to claim spousal, he only has to be at least 62. BUT … if she claims benefits before SHE is FRA, her spousal benefits will be reduced. See this table to see how much her benefits will be reduced.
If she doesn't qualify for benefits under her own work record, she qualifies for spousal benefits if she was married for 10 years or longer. Yes, she COULD take benefits now at age 63 but they would be greatly reduced. She qualifies for 1/2 of her ex-husbands FRA benefit only if she waits until her FRA (whatever that is depending upon year of her birth). My wife does not qualify for her own work benefits. She was not in the workforce long enough to earn the 40 credits required. She is 59 so must wait 8 more years to qualify for half of my FRA benefit, or just under $1500. per month in my case. Your local SS office can give you precise dollar amounts.

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