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Social security Q and A: Benefits and ex-spouses

Q. I expect that my wife will receive Social Security from my record when I retire. I was married before, and my previous spouse also might be eligible. Would benefits to my ex-spouse lower benefits payable to my wife?...

Q. I expect that my wife will receive Social Security from my record when I retire. I was married before, and my previous spouse also might be eligible. Would benefits to my ex-spouse lower benefits payable to my wife?

A. If both women are eligible to receive Social Security through your record, the amount payable to your divorced spouse has no effect on the amount payable to you or your wife.

Potential survivor benefits also exist for an ex-spouse after your death. Called "surviving divorced spouse" benefits, if based on age or disability, these do not affect benefits to others also receiving through your record.

Requirements for divorced spouse benefits: At least 10 years of marriage; your ex-spouse is unmarried; your ex-spouse is at least age 62; and any benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on his or her own work is less than benefits payable based on your work.

For more information, log on to www.socialsecurity.gov .

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General information questions can be sent to Howard I. Kossover, SSA, 402 DeMers Ave, Suite 300,Grand Forks ND 58201; phone (701) 772-5518 ext. 200; fax: (701) 772-8622; e-mail: howard.kossover@ssa.gov . Please include the name of the paper in which you read the article. General information also is available on the agency Web site, www.socialsecurity.gov , or by calling the national toll-free number, (800) 772-1213.

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