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Social Security -- ex-spousal survivor benefits?
Old 09-29-2018, 02:20 PM   #1
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Social Security -- ex-spousal survivor benefits?

This is a Social Security wrinkle I haven't seen discussed. DW (current) and I were talking about Social Security survivor benefits, and she said "Wait a minute ... when you die, will your ex [currently collecting ex-spousal benefits on my record] get a raise?"


I'd never thought about it, but from a perusal of SSA.gov it appears so. Am I correct in thinking that if I predecease them, both DW and ex-DW will get a boost (basically doubling their benefits) as they are switched from spousal (or ex) to survivor? From a policy standpoint, I've always thought it crazy that multiple spouses can each get a full spousal benefit on one record, but if true, this would be even nuttier IMHO.
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Old 09-29-2018, 07:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Crabby Mike View Post
From a policy standpoint, I've always thought it crazy that multiple spouses can each get a full spousal benefit on one record
What would your alternative policy be?

Should an ex be penalized and get less? Do you think an ex should get nothing at all? Should you get less?
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Old 09-29-2018, 07:43 PM   #3
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The ex should get what the ex is currently getting. Only survivor benefits, aka current wife, gets a bump up. I suspect that is one loophole that might be closed to shore up SS.
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Old 09-29-2018, 08:54 PM   #4
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The ex should get what the ex is currently getting. Only survivor benefits, aka current wife, gets a bump up. I suspect that is one loophole that might be closed to shore up SS.
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Old 09-30-2018, 11:22 AM   #5
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What would your alternative policy be?

Should an ex be penalized and get less? Do you think an ex should get nothing at all? Should you get less?
I just think there are a lot of inequities in the system, and under current law, ex-spousal benefits is one. Why should SS pay out more benefits on my record just because I've been married more than once? And yes, if that meant somehow dividing benefits between me and my wives, I wouldn't have a problem with it.


But ex-spouse survivor benefits just make no sense to me. My ex's financial situation will not be impacted by my death (we've been divorced almost 20 years, and she has remarried and divorced again in the interim). I will have only one surviving spouse, my current (and final!) DW. If anything, I could perhaps see allowing the ex to continue to collect ex-spousal benefits for the rest of her life, but why should hers double if I predecease her?


Thankfully, to be fair, neither my DW's nor ex's benefits on my record currently amount to much. DW's own FRA benefit is about half of mine, so spousal for her will be about a wash. I'm not sure about the ex's own record, but I suspect it's similar to DW's. If I die first, DW will effectively trade her benefit for mine, reducing the burden on the system. But again, the ex's would apparently double, if I understand correctly. SMDH.
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Old 09-30-2018, 11:43 AM   #6
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The ex should get what the ex is currently getting. Only survivor benefits, aka current wife, gets a bump up. I suspect that is one loophole that might be closed to shore up SS.

Do you have any reference to that?


My oldest sister is in the category and from what SS told her she will get a bump up whenever her ex dies...


She started out with benefits from DH#1 as a spouse since they were more than she would get from DH#2... then DH#2 passed and spousal benefits were higher so she is on his account but was told to come back in when DH#1 passes to get her benefits changed again...
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Old 09-30-2018, 11:46 AM   #7
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Do you have any reference to that?


My oldest sister is in the category and from what SS told her she will get a bump up whenever her ex dies...


She started out with benefits from DH#1 as a spouse since they were more than she would get from DH#2... then DH#2 passed and spousal benefits were higher so she is on his account but was told to come back in when DH#1 passes to get her benefits changed again...
That is my suggestion because the ex-SS stays the same. Nobody can claim impoverishment the ex.
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Old 09-30-2018, 11:47 AM   #8
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I'm about to take xSpouse benefits but I still think it isn't fair. And I really hope they close the xSpouse survivor benefit. After all only the current spouse (if one) relies on the income.
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fedup View Post
The ex should get what the ex is currently getting. Only survivor benefits, aka current wife, gets a bump up. I suspect that is one loophole that might be closed to shore up SS.
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That is my suggestion because the ex-SS stays the same. Nobody can claim impoverishment the ex.

Your first post is not clear that the second part is also part of your suggestion. I read it as they do not get a bump in benefits...


SO, you agree that an ex gets a bump when the other spouse dies?
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:57 PM   #10
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It was a suggestion because I said in my first post that I hope that loophole should be closed.
No, I don’t think the ex should get a bump if the current spouse dies. Why should she or he for that reason.
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Old 09-30-2018, 06:03 PM   #11
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No, I donít think the ex should get a bump if the current spouse dies. Why should she or he for that reason.
I'm pretty sure the theory is that people should not be disadvantaged by getting a divorce. That seems reasonable to me.
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Old 09-30-2018, 06:24 PM   #12
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I'm pretty sure the theory is that people should not be disadvantaged by getting a divorce. That seems reasonable to me.
But the ex does get 1/2 SS already, it’s the bump we are debating. But base on your theory about everybody doesn’t get disadvantaged by getting a divorce, then everybody should get half of your ex, but it isn’t now. You only get half of your ex if you are at least married for 10 years.
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Old 09-30-2018, 07:35 PM   #13
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What would your alternative policy be?

Should an ex be penalized and get less? Do you think an ex should get nothing at all? Should you get less?
I'll go all wild and crazy on this.

While they are working, the spouses should split their work records. If one earns $30k and the other $70k, they both get credit for $50k.

Then, when they retire, they each get benefits based on this record -- the same as single people would get. No spousal benefit, no survivor benefit.

It doesn't matter how many times people marry and divorce, they just have an earnings record. If I'm married to someone for a long period of time, we share a lot of years. If it's short, we share a few years.

The interesting thing is that SS records, plus state records of marriages and divorces, make it possible to do the calculation today, even if this hasn't been the rule in the past. The tough transition is deciding when to start.
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Old 09-30-2018, 07:38 PM   #14
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I'll go all wild and crazy on this.

While they are working, the spouses should split their work records. If one earns $30k and the other $70k, they both get credit for $50k.

Then, when they retire, they each get benefits based on this record -- the same as single people would get. No spousal benefit, no survivor benefit.

It doesn't matter how many times people marry and divorce, they just have an earnings record. If I'm married to someone for a long period of time, we share a lot of years. If it's short, we share a few years.

The interesting thing is that SS records, plus state records of marriages and divorces, make it possible to do the calculation today, even if this hasn't been the rule in the past. The tough transition is deciding when to start.
+1

But I'm not turning down collecting just 1k month on his # until I hit 70 & collect on mine
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:31 PM   #15
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But the ex does get 1/2 SS already, itís the bump we are debating.
If they weren't divorced the ex would get the bump.
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:37 PM   #16
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I'll go all wild and crazy on this.

While they are working, the spouses should split their work records. If one earns $30k and the other $70k, they both get credit for $50k.

Then, when they retire, they each get benefits based on this record -- the same as single people would get. No spousal benefit, no survivor benefit.
So if I'm single, I get $X for the rest of my life.
But if I'm married, and my wife had minimal earnings, I'd get about $Y (perhaps a lot less than $X). Even if my wife predeceases me, I'd still get only $Y for the rest of my life.

Yup, that's rather wild and crazy.
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:55 PM   #17
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It was a suggestion because I said in my first post that I hope that loophole should be closed.
No, I donít think the ex should get a bump if the current spouse dies. Why should she or he for that reason.

They do not get a bump on spouse #1 if spouse #2 dies... you have to wait for spouse #1 to die to get that bump...


As I said, my oldest sister will get another bump when her first spouse passes.... she already got one when spouse #2 died... they were still married when he passed...
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:56 PM   #18
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If they weren't divorced the ex would get the bump.
But if they’re divorced, and there’s a current wife. A person can have 4-5 spouses in one lifetime, one every 10 year and then SS has to pay 2-3 times the amount per one contributor or worker, this assume all ex spouses never work, one person gets back 3-4 times he puts in. And that without the bump up. It’s no wonder SS will go broke eventually.
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Old 09-30-2018, 09:02 PM   #19
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They do not get a bump on spouse #1 if spouse #2 dies... you have to wait for spouse #1 to die to get that bump...


As I said, my oldest sister will get another bump when her first spouse passes.... she already got one when spouse #2 died... they were still married when he passed...
But according to OP, if spouse #1 has a current wife and and ex-wife, why does both spouses get a bump and not just the current wife.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:41 AM   #20
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But if theyíre divorced, and thereís a current wife. A person can have 4-5 spouses in one lifetime, one every 10 year and then SS has to pay 2-3 times the amount per one contributor or worker, this assume all ex spouses never work, one person gets back 3-4 times he puts in. And that without the bump up. Itís no wonder SS will go broke eventually.
Yes a person can have 4-5 spouses in one lifetime. Even more. No this has almost nothing to do with the state of social security.

You are confused that "SS will go broke". That isn't what will happen.
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