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Dear Senior Living Adviser,

I am 75 years of age and currently collecting Social Security benefits based on my earnings and my ex’s earnings. If I remarry, will I still be able to collect on both?

— Mary Maritally

Dear Mary,

I’m not quite sure what you mean by collecting on both your earnings and your ex’s earnings. It’s true that the Social Security Administration considers both of your earnings in determining your benefits, but I hope you don’t mean that you’re getting 2 checks. That’s not how it works.

The Social Security Administration doesn’t eliminate survivors benefits for widows who remarry after age 60, but it does care about whether a divorced spouse remarries after age 60.

According to the Social Security Administration, “If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce or annulment).”

It’s a difficult call on whether to wait to remarry until after your ex passes so you can continue to receive benefits based on his work record and then qualify for a survivors benefit as a divorced spouse. While that sounds a little cold, that’s the financial decision that’s on the table.

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