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Collecting Social Security Benefits on Behalf of a First Wife

Question: I’m 58 years old and twice widowed. Can I collect Social Security benefits on behalf of my first wife? If so, at what age can I start?

— Eddy Berk, Hot Springs Village, Ark.

Answer: Generally speaking, Social Security benefits are pretty individualized calculations. In your case, the ability to collect widower’s benefits on your first wife depends on when you remarried. According to a Social Security Administration spokesperson, you may qualify for her benefits if you tied the knot again after age 59 (or after age 49, and you were disabled at the time). The ability to collect widower’s benefits also depends on the length of a person’s marriage (it must be at least nine months) and how long the first wife worked. It’s best to contact your local Social Security Administration office to clarify how the rules would apply to your specific scenario.


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