Q&A: Survivor benefits and remarriage

Dear Liz: Regarding your recent advice to the person whose husband had just died. I could be completely wrong, but I think that in order to collect her late husband’s benefits when she turns 60, she can’t remarry.

Answer: You’re right that you’re wrong, but your confusion is understandable.

There are different types of Social Security benefits that people can receive based on the earnings of a spouse or ex-spouse. People whose spouses or ex-spouses have died may collect survivor benefits. Those benefits can continue if the survivor remarries at 60 or later.

The other type of benefit is a spousal benefit, which is based on a living person’s earnings record and which may be available to current spouses as well as ex-spouses. Someone who is divorced and receiving spousal benefits based on an ex’s earning record will lose those benefits if they remarry at any age.

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  1. Gerri Parker says

    My husband passed away in 2007. His exwife of 24 yrs received the larger amount of his SS, my amount was a few dollars I believe. She has passed away now so does that mean I will not receive any more dollars ?

    • Liz Weston says

      Your benefit has nothing to do with hers. Please contact the Social Security Administration to ensure you’re getting the correct amount.