Q. My husband died in September 2018 he was 53. We got married in 1991 and divorced in 2003. I am 62. I receive Social Security disability and he also used to get disability. Am I entitled to his benefits?
You're not entitled to your ex-husband's disability benefits, but you can continue to receive your own.
Because you were married for more than 10 years, if you haven't remarried, you will be eligible to receive survivor benefits on your ex-husband's history based on his full retirement benefit, said Jody D'Agostini, a certified financial planner with AXA Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.
You will have to wait until he would have been age 62, she said.
You can, however, file to receive your own Social Security benefit at age 62.
"To qualify, you would have had to work for 40 quarters or 10 years and have met the minimum earnings requirement," D'Agostini said. "You could potentially start with this, then switch over to your survivor benefit when eligible if that benefit is higher."
But be careful, D'Agostini said. There's a penalty for claiming your benefits early.
"Each year that you hold off claiming increases your benefit up to 7 to 8 percent per year," she said. "Also, if you are still working, there is a reduction of your Social Security by $1 for every $2 of earnings above the earnings limit, which is $17,640 for 2019."