This Question Concerns Social Security Benefits. Has Anyone Done This?

Updated on September 20, 2019
C.B. asks from Fayetteville, NC
8 answers

I would like to know if anyone has canceled their social security benefits in order to receive the benefits of an ex-spouse? When I took my social security benefits, I was unaware that I could receive benefits from my ex's social security at half, until I reached full retirement age or even age 70 with a bonus. Upon doing some research I read that it is possible to cancel you social security benefits in order to get more benefits later on down the line. Does this mean that I can draw the half from my ex's social security while mine is in the "canceled phase" or does this mean that I will just be without any social security benefits until I want them started back up again?

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So What Happened?

I had gathered a lot of the information about social security prior to asking my question, but just wanted to know if anyone had actually done it (canceled). I will be checking to find out more about the cancellation process to see if it is worth my while, or if it can even be done. Thanks for your comments.

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

it's unfortunate that the ins and outs of SS benefits are so convoluted, but there you go. i strongly suggest that you talk to a financial planner who is well versed in this arena. strangers on the internet aren't going to provide professional advice, and seeking advice from strangers on the internet is NOT 'doing some research'.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Dallas on

You need to be talking to a financial consultant and/or attorney and SSA rep who is aware of all SS options.

Why are you going after your ex's benefits? Has he passed away? Was he married after you? If he was, that wife may be eligible depending on their marriage.

I don't know all of the specific rules. I do know, my late husband and I typically put in the max each year. Out retirement plans were specific and we planned SS to roll into our plan when we were eligible at the highest rate and age. It didn't work out the way we planned due to his untimely death.

When he died suddenly in 2015, I was told by SSA with my financial counselor that I can get his benefits when I turn 60. IF I were to marry before I turned 60, I would forfeit the benefits. Of course, I have no interest in marrying but he nor I were aware of some of the rules I learned about upon his death.

I would cancel NOTHING until I was 100% sure of all benefits and options.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Social security is actually very helpful. Give them a call and if you can't get the info you need then make an appointment at your local SS office and go in for a chit chat.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My father passed away, and as Doris Day mentioned, my mother was given the option of keeping her SSI, or having my father's. She could not have both. Since his was higher, due to the fact she was practically always a homemaker, it was a no-brainer and she kept his. She was advised by someone from the SSI, and her attorney agreed with their suggestion. You should call the SSA or you can also ask your accountant about this and any other recommendations. I don't know about getting SSI from someone who is alive, but if he is dead, I think there are certain requirements to meet, like having been married a certain period of time, not remarrying, being of a certain age, etc. I would start by calling the SSA.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


I would call the SSA and ask. They are typically very helpful and giving answers.

If you have an office near you? Go into the office. Get there early with all of your documentation and get the answers you need to help you make a decision.

good luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You need to talk to a lawyer.
Sometimes it makes sense to suspend benefits but I'm not sure you get to do a 'do over' to get more benefits later on.
You need a lawyer that understands the finer points of social security laws and how they apply to you and your situation.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You take the benefit that is more. It’s extremely common. Gather all your paperwork together and go down to your local social security office and talk to them. My mother got my father’s amount after he died without the help of a lawyer. Btw, she took a snack to eat with her - you might sit for a while...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Actually you should call the SS office for an answer. I've found them to be very helpful. A lawyer will charge you. The office won't.

If you still need help making a decision, talk with a financial planner.

3 moms found this helpful
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