Friday, October 22, 2010

Applied for Social Security on Wednesday

So...I went down to the Social Security office on Wednesday and applied for Social Security, which is effective in January.

If you are still very young, or already collecting Social Security, this might not interest you, but...  If you are in my position as a divorced, single person approaching 66 years old, this might be something you would be interested in.  And this is a good way for me to document what I'm doing so I'll remember if I need to refer back to it.

I don't have any photos today, so I'm throwing in some odd-ball pictures that didn't fit into any recent posts.  Like this one that I liked:

I took this on my way to work a few weeks ago - it was early and the moon was still going down.  The Pacific Ocean is just beyond the trees, a block or two.  The red light turned green just as I snapped it.  I wasn't looking at the surrounding area, just the full moon.  It could have been a beautiful photo, but if I'm counting right, there are 5 poles with 11 signs on them including the green lights.  Just in this tiny area.  Must by why RVers take the roads less traveled.

As a divorced woman who is not currently remarried I am entitled to collect on my SS account, or I can apply for one-half of my ex-husband's "full retirement" monthly benefit.  The marriage has to have lasted for at least ten years, and it had to end in a legal divorce.  I re-confirmed that this is what I can do and want to do.

The only problem is I have to bring in a Certified copy of both my marriage certificate and divorce decree, neither of which I have.  And maybe never did have.  It makes sense that they would want this proof, though.  I need to prove we were married more than ten years, and it's so easy to forge documents nowadays.  I could probably change a document and make good copies if I wanted to and was dishonest.  I wouldn't and I'm not, but I could.

So, today I am printing out the necessary forms for Monterey County for the marriage certificate and Santa Clara County for the divorce decree.  I have to complete them, go to a Notary Public to have them notarized, then mail them in with a check to the counties.  When I receive the Certified copies, I'll bring them in for the Social Security office to make copies for their file.  Then they can enter my claim for Social Security benefits.

Two new things I learned in my visit Wednesday.  Even though I am eligible as of January 1, I won't receive my Social Security check (actually it will be an automatic deposit into my checking account) until the third week of February.  What you are eligible for in one month, you get the next month.  And depending on your birth date (or in my case my ex-husband's birth date) you might get it in the first, second, third or fourth week of that month.  In my case, the third week.

I thought I'd have the deposit in my checking account the first week of January, but instead it will be the third week of February.  Bummer!

The other thing I learned is that since our marriage lasted more than ten years, if my ex-spouse dies first and has a larger benefit than mine, I can collect widow's benefits.  In the same amount he was receiving.  Even though we are divorced.  Interesting...  the only problem is that I cannot know what he is receiving if he started collecting before full retirement age.  Which apparently he did.  They also cannot tell me what he is eligible for at full retirement age, only that I will receive one-half of it.  Go figure, literally.  One-half times two equals full retirement benefit.  Duh.

So I won't know what my income could be in the future until he dies.  Assuming he predeceases me. 

But for now, since I'm still working full time, I'll collect on his benefit and let mine continue to grow until I retire and/or need the additional income each month. I might be able to retire on his alone and let mine grow until I'm 70.  That would be nice! 

I'll end with this photo taken from my patio - also a few weeks ago.  The moon coming up over the hills.  I love my view:

From Me and My Dog, Katie, have a wonderful Friday, everyone!  We are! : )


  1. I thought for a moment I could collect some of my ex's benefits, but I remember as part of my divorce we each signed an affidavit that we had no interest in one another's retirement benefits. That was to protect me as I am under Civil Service which had a higher benefit and I stood to lose the most. Oh well, it doesn't matter to me any more, and he died a couple of years ago.

    You are smart to document it all for your records.

  2. Good information, thanks for sharing (the photos are awesome too!).


  3. Wow, it gets more complicated every day, trying to figure out all the ins and outs of SS. Thanks for sharing those details, good info.

    I think you're doing great with your camera, beautiful hummer pictures!

  4. That was very interesting info. Almost made me wish I had divorced after 10 years instead of 9+ years...but maybe I need to double check exactly how they would calculate 10 years. Good thing that you figured all of this out because every penny counts when you retire.

  5. If you are now married does this still apply? Or, would you have to draw from your current husband, as I do? No one explained any of this to me, just signed me up under my husband, and not my ex. Unlike you, I was mostly a stay-at-home Mother and did private childcare, which there were no benefits. I could have paid in, but was not smart enough to do that when younger. Stay safe.

  6. Great info...and you DON"T look your age! What a lovely view from your patio! Blessings.

  7. Since I was married for 10 years and 4 days, I am very interested in this. However, if they won't tell you what how much your ex's benefit is, how are you supposed to make a decision? Also, is this only an issue when you turn 66? What about when you turn 62?

  8. My suggestion is to call the Social Security office. They are very helpful and knowledgeable. I am receiving 1/2 benefit from my former husband's Social Security. We were married over ten years. You can't be married now and receive a former husband's benefit. I had remarried and divorced again so as long as I'm single I am able to receive benefits. If he passes and I'm not married again, I'll get a full benefit. I'm 66 now too and the longer I wait until age 70 my own social security benefit can increase. When I'm 70 I'll need to find out which benefit is more, mine or my former husband's. Also check out the social security dot gov site as they have a lot of info there. You can only receive your former spouse's benefit or your own, not both.


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