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Financial Center for Women

I'm getting remarried. How will this affect my Social Security benefits?

First off, congratulations!  We wish you and your fiancée a happy life together.  But let’s discuss some financial business that may impact your new household.

Update your Financial and Estate Planning Documents: As you begin your new life together, we recommend you review your financial plan and estate plans to make sure both your new spouse and any heirs are properly named as beneficiaries and to make sure children from prior marriages are not accidentally disinherited in the process.  For more information about accidental disinheritance, see our article here: How to Avoid Accidentally Disinheriting Your Kids

Here are a few considerations about Social Security that may impact your new household’s finances:

Your own Social Security Benefit:  If you're receiving benefits based on your own work record, your benefits will continue.  

Spousal Benefits: If you're receiving spousal benefits based on your former spouse's work record, those benefits will generally end upon your getting remarried, but you may be able to receive benefits based on your new spouse's work record, or on your own.

Survivor Benefits: If you're a widow(er) under age 60, or you're disabled but under 50, once you remarry, you are no longer eligible for any benefits on the record of your deceased spouse while you are married.  However, if your second marriage ends as a result of death, divorce, or annulment, you will again be eligible to collect benefits on your first spouse's record.  If you remarry after age 60 (or after 50 and are disabled), your survivor benefits remain intact, unless you get spousal benefits through your new spouse (at age 62 or older) presuming those benefits are higher.

Your Benefits Claimed by Your Ex-Spouse: If you were the working spouse during your first marriage, your remarriage does not change the Social Security benefits paid to either your new spouse or ex-spouse. In some rare cases, more than one former spouse could qualify for Social Security benefits based on a former spouse’s record.  If the marriage lasted at least 10 years and ended in divorce, if that ex-spouse did not remarry, they could apply for survivor benefits.  A classic example of this is the Late Night TV host Johnny Carson who had three ex-wives individually eligible for his full survivor benefits.

Professional Assistance:  Because the rules surrounding payment of benefits are complicated, and depend on your specific situation, contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 or visit for more information.  At the Financial Center for Women, we have experienced divorce, widowhood, and remarriage.  We’re here to help you with proper advanced planning, that addresses the complexities of love, loss, and newfound love.