retirement

Woman wants double-dip retirement benefit

Don TaylorQuestionDear Dr. Don,
My first marriage lasted 12 years and my second marriage lasted 11 years. Can I collect spousal Social Security on both exes when they turn age 62 while waiting for my Social Security to "mature" to age 65 or 70? We are all 61 now.
-- Judith Juxtaposition

AnswerDear Judith,
Long-term serial monogamy isn't the path to wealth in retirement. But, to answer your question, I got some help from Edward Lafferty, a public affairs specialist for the Social Security Administration.

He says, "No, she cannot receive benefits from both ex-spouses at the same time."

The Social Security website states:

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).

Lafferty says, "If the divorced spouse elects to file for benefits on the higher primary insurance amount (PIA) record prior to full retirement age (FRA) and is due a higher benefit on the record with the lower PIA at FRA, she can switch to that record."

I hope this all makes sense. If you need additional details, talk to your local Social Security office or ask questions online at the Social Security website.

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