Can I file for ex-spousal benefits and switch to mine when I retire at 70?

Published: June 11, 2024

Full question: Martha, I am over 62 years old and divorced, we were married over 10 years. My ex-husband is still working he’s 68 years old. I’m still self-employed also, can I file for spousal benefits until I retire at 70 years old?

Hi there!

The short answer is that yes, it appears that you are eligible to apply for ex-spousal benefits.

However, there are several factors that you should consider when applying.

First, if you are still working and start collecting benefits when you are younger than your full retirement age (FRA) of 67, the earnings test may affect the amount of your check depending on how much you earn in those years.

Second, when you apply for benefits at any age, you are “deemed” to be filing for all the benefits you are eligible to receive – your own retirement benefit and the ex-spousal benefit – and you will only receive the higher amount of the two. You cannot switch over to the other one later.

Finally, both the ex-spousal and retirement benefits will be reduced amounts if collected prior to FRA. You would benefit from contacting an RSSA for a Social Security claiming analysis to determine your best course of action.

Take care,


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