Mary Beth Franklin

Retirement 2.0blog

Mary Beth Franklin on what your clients really want when they talk about retirement.

Social Security: More on how to collect on your ex

Even a self-professed expert gets it wrong sometimes

Dec 12, 2012 @ 10:05 am

By Mary Beth Franklin

Social Security
+ Zoom

Recently I committed what, back in my Catholic school days, would be called a “sin of omission.” In my latest blog about Social Security benefits -- 'Til Decade Do Us Part"-- I left out a key phrase and some of my readers may have been confused as a result. Mea culpa.

To clarify, as a divorced spouse, you have the same rights as a married spouse to a spousal benefit as long as you were married for at least 10 years and you are not currently married.

That part was clear.

It's the next part that got me into trouble. I wrote: “But there's one exception. If you wait until age 60 or later to remarry, you can still collect on your ex if that would create a bigger benefit than collecting on your current spouse's earnings record.” I left out the key phrase “you can still collect a survivor benefit on you ex”.

An eagle-eyed Investment News reader caught my mistake. Douglas Van Allen posted in the comment section: The only time a divorced spouse who has remarried after age 60 can get divorced spouse benefits is when the ex-spouse has died.” Absolutely right!

The column has been updated to reflect the key phrase “but there's one exception when it comes to collecting survivor benefits on you ex.”

So, to recap: you must be unmarried to collect spousal retirement benefits on your ex but you may be able to collect survivor benefits on you ex even if you remarry, as long as that subsequent marriage occurred after you turned 60.

Yes, Social Security is complicated. The numerous rules and exceptions may seem overwhelming, but just imagine how your clients feel. Many advisers deal with retirement income decisions every day. Most clients make these decisions just once. That's why they rely on you for advice. And that's why I'm trying to make your job a little easier by unraveling the mysteries of Social Security, which for many of your clients, may be one of the most important retirement income decisions they ever make.

0
Comments

What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video

INTV

Stephanie Bogan: What's really holding advisers back from achieving their goals

The only thing holding financial advisers back from accomplishing what they want is the assumptions they're making, according to Stephanie Bogan, founder of Educe Inc.

Latest news & opinion

Sen. Gary Peters brings broker background to work every day on Capitol Hill

Michigan Democrat resists ripping up DOL fiduciary rule but would be open to some changes.

DOL fiduciary rule causing DC-plan record keepers to change business with insurance agents

Principal has communicated that independent agents must change their business models to keep receiving compensation.

DOL fiduciary rule opponents want to push implementation back until 2019

ICI, Chamber of Commerce among groups asking for delay, while Democratic lawmakers call on DOL to keep to its earlier planned schedule of Jan. 1, 2018.

Take 5: Vanguard's new CIO Greg Davis talks bonds, stocks and costs

Having just stepped into the role, this veteran of the firm now oversees $3.8 trillion in assets in more than 300 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.

Tech companies deploy behavioral finance tools for advisers

They seek to turn knowing more about clients into growing more revenue.

X

Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print