Thursday, October 7, 2010

Divorced Wife's Benefits- some confusion

KC from Alaska:
Just discovered the Social Security AnswerBook. What a blessing! My DOB is in September 1945 and my ex-spouse was born in October 1953. Lived together from January 1980 and married from February 1992 to November 2005. His earnings as an attorney are substantial. Mine are spotty but meet the 40 quarter requirement. Divorced finally, over his fury regarding my working at all. I needed to start withdrawing my SSA benefits in October 2008 as both my finances and health have been substantially impacted by his protracted divorce litigation. After the mandatory medicare premium deduction of $110 per month, I receive about $410 per month. When can I apply for the ex-spouse benefits and how do I do that? Each visit to the Anchorage SS office produces a different answer and no useful specifics. Thank you for the service you do in the world by providing needed information to people who truly need and benefit by it.

ANSWER: Sorry to hear about your divorce problems KC. You can apply as a divorced wife when your ex-husband turns age 62. If he does not file for retirement benefits at that time, you can be entitled anyway provided you will have been divorced at least two years, which will be the situation in your case as he won't turn 62 for five years. So you will have to wait till then. His earnings will not affect your ex-wife's benefits, as per the so-called “independent entitlement” rule for divorced spouses. Here's the POMS section if you want to clarify it with the folks at SSA: RS 00202.005- and the link is:   p.s.-I hope you were able to get a good divorce settlement from him.

No comments: