Can I apply for ex-spousal benefits now and switch to my own at 70?

Published: July 10, 2023

Full question: I am full retirement age and have been divorced for more than 10 years. My ex-husband and I have a disabled child (34 year old) that I care for and draws SSDI off of her father who is 70 years old. I have not applied for Social Security benefits, as I was wanting to wait until I turn 70. My question is, can I apply for spousal benefits now and then switch to my benefit at 70? Since I have always made more than my ex, my benefit is higher.


Thank you for your question about ex-spousal benefits.

Unfortunately, you are not able to claim an ex-spousal benefit and later to switch to your own. When you apply and indicate details about an ex-spouse, the SSA will give you the higher of the two benefits, your own retirement or the ex-spousal.

Survivor benefits however are unique.

If your ex-husband passes away and the survivor benefit is larger than the benefit you are collecting, you can apply to switch at that time.

If you need more personalized assistance, schedule a call with an RSSA today.

Take care,

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