Q: Can my father increase his social security payments with divorced spouses joint earnings?
My parents are divorced and we’re married for 19 years. My mom bugged my dad to apply for the joint income social security payment or something like that since they were married for so long and his payment would be much greater than what he would get if he applied using his lower income single info. My dad couldn’t afford to seek legal council and ended up taking the individual social security payment and he is struggling financially at 71 years old. Is there anything he can do now to receive a higher social security payment for all the years he was married to my mom and their joint income was much higher than his very low individual contributions?
Under Social Security Administration rules, if your father was married to your mother for at least 10 years and is currently unmarried, he may be eligible to claim benefits based on her earnings record, provided that it would result in a higher payment than his own record. The divorced spouse's benefits do not impact the earnings record or benefits of the other spouse. It would be advisable for your father to contact the Social Security Administration directly or seek assistance from an organization that provides support with Social Security benefits to explore his options.
James L. Arrasmith
Founder and Chief Legal Counsel of The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith
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