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SKB
07-02-2016, 07:46 PM
Hi everyone, I've got a question that I hope someone can answer for me.

I'm wife #3, now divorced. Ex has remarried and is now living in the Philippines. He's not poor. Wife #4 is already collecting her spousal benefit on his account. I'm getting a paltry $186 a month because I was forced to retire early and collect disability in 2011. I'm 64 now. My total SS income is $817 a month.

The folks at my local SS office each tell me something different when I call.

Dear ex is not in great shape, despite having a kiidney transplant. SS says they'll automatically let me know when he dies.

How will they know if the money goes to their joint account ?

Why would she even bother reporting the death?

We were married 22 years, they married in 2010.

Doninalaska
07-02-2016, 09:15 PM
As I understand it, the last ex wife who was married to the decedent for 10 years or more is the beneficiary of the decedent's SS benefits. If the current wife does not report the death, she is guilty of SS fraud and subject to penalties, but I don't know how they would know if he dies in a foreign country and it is not reported. I guess you could try to keep tabs on public records in the Philippines, or check obits in Manila newspapers if they live in or near Manila. Perhaps you could call the main SS number in DC, wait on hold, etc., and perhaps get a real answer. The local SS office may not know the answer and may too lazy to find out for you. You might also pass the question to your Congressional Representative. They might be able to find out the answer for you. If he lives until they have been married for 10 years, you may be out of luck.

SKB
07-02-2016, 09:31 PM
As I understand it, the last ex wife who was married to the decedent for 10 years or more is the beneficiary of the decedent's SS benefits. If the current wife does not report the death, she is guilty of SS fraud and subject to penalties, but I don't know how they would know if he dies in a foreign country and it is not reported. I guess you could try to keep tabs on public records in the Philippines, or check obits in Manila newspapers if they live in or near Manila. Perhaps you could call the main SS number in DC, wait on hold, etc., and perhaps get a real answer. The local SS office may not know the answer and may too lazy to find out for you. You might also pass the question to your Congressional Representative. They might be able to find out the answer for you. If he lives until they have been married for 10 years, you may be out of luck.

Thanks to Facebook, I know more than I ever wanted to know about his over the top wonderful life. There are plenty of pictures as well.

I posted the question because one SS rep told me to let them know the minute I heard he'd died. Another rep told me they'd take care of it, don't worry. He said they'd let me know but if they're not living here, I can't see how SS will ever know.

Ex built a new home in Pang Lao. Many of the messages his wife posts require translation but I can figure out most of it because there are English words here and there.

SS regulations are confusing and I think some reps just pull answers out of the air. 😠

Bones
07-03-2016, 01:16 AM
4.
If you’re divorced and were married at least 10 years,
you’re eligible for some of your ex’s Social Security

Divorced women married at least 10 years are eligible for Social Security on the ex
-
husband’s record if they are unmarried at the time they become eligible for Social
Security.

Some women sign divorce decrees relinquishing their rights to Social Security on
their ex
-husband’s record. If you were married at least 10 years, those clauses in
divorce decrees are worthless and are never enforced.

Any benefits paid to a divorced spouse DO NOT reduce payments made to the ex or
any payments due the ex’s current spouse if he remarried.

Generally, the same payment rules apply to divorced wives and widows as to current
wives and widows. That means most divorced women collect the
ir own Social
Security while the ex is alive, but can apply for higher widow’s rates when he dies

https://www.ssa.gov/sf/FactSheets/WomenandSSrev1.pdf

SKB
07-03-2016, 03:21 AM
Thanks, Bones. What will happen when he dies if he's living in a 3rd world country where he could die at home, be buried and SS doesn't know, so the checks continue to be deposited into their joint bank account.

There are pics of him standing in the doorway of their new home in Pang Lao dated May of this year. Beautiful pics. The move appears permanent. They're not coming back.

His mother died 2 weeks ago and his wife posted that they were told via email. She posted a message to his relatives on FB (in English) explaining that they couldn't come back here for her funeral due to his health. His new kidney has not solved all of his health issues. Anyway, she goes on to say that she does not know how to make international phone calls.

So she's not going to be calling SS to notify them of his passing so that I can get the benefit I'm entitled to. I've searched and searched and can't find any info about a situation like this although it can't be that uncommon.

They were married on June 19, 2010 here in the U.S.

On August 10, 2011 she posted a FB thank you to SS for her first spousal benefit payment. The 10 year requirement must not apply if the wife is 62 and he's already getting his benefit.

Bones
07-03-2016, 11:38 AM
Have you already filed on his or are you collecting on your work earnings? Which are higher. You should claim whichever is higher. I think that is the extent of what you can claim. However I would encourage you to go to ss.gov and find out all you can about it so you know more than the ss workers.
https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

SKB
07-03-2016, 12:08 PM
I may need a lawyer who deals with SS to sort this out.

What is being done currently will not change UNTIL HE DIES. When that happens, things will change, but ONLY IF SS KNOWS ABOUT HIS DEATH and I don't know how that will happen since he's no longer in the U.S where deaths are routinely noted and reported.

The SS website does not deal with this particular situation.

Bones
07-03-2016, 01:07 PM
Checking with some friends that are from the PI. I am think local authorities will notify the US Embassy if a US Citizen dies in their country.

SKB
07-03-2016, 01:39 PM
Checking with some friends that are from the PI. I am think local authorities will notify the US Embassy if a US Citizen dies in their country.

Ok, sounds good. That's assuming someone notifies the local authorities.

If the ex and his wife hadn't done some questionable things in the past, I'd be more confident that the right thing would be done going forward.

Long live their FB accounts and God bless them for posting about every little thing they do.

Bones
07-08-2016, 09:09 AM
This is my friends response to my question.

Whoever keeps the Civil Registry documents, as in a Municipal Office, Provincial Office is a good place to start. I suspect the Phil Govt would inform the US Embassy in Manila if they know its a US citizen

SKB
07-08-2016, 11:26 AM
Thanks, Bones. I'll save the info.

Bones
07-08-2016, 11:30 PM
While you can find them on Facebook see if you can find what province he is in. This will help you in the future when you need it. Also you can reach out to the State Dept when needed to help out.

SKB
07-08-2016, 11:39 PM
Pang Lao is in Bohol province.

I check their FB pages regularly, so there's sure to be news I can use at some point.

It sounds terrible, but I've heard this is what you have to do since SS is not going to do more than the bare minimum.

doc
07-09-2016, 11:58 AM
Maybe you could rat on him to SS now: say you think he's dead and the new wife is fraudulently collecting his benefits? If nothing else, maybe that will give them a heads up about possible future fraud.

SKB
07-09-2016, 12:24 PM
Maybe you could rat on him to SS now: say you think he's dead and the new wife is fraudulently collecting his benefits? If nothing else, maybe that will give them a heads up about possible future fraud.

Their response is always that they will let me know when he dies, but I'll bet I end up telling them instead.

I read somewhere that they are trained to only answer questions, not volunteer additional information. It just depends on who answers the call, some reps are very chatty, others say next to nothing and give yes or no answers.

It's frustrating. I want what I'm entitled to, but they make me feel like the money is coming out of their paycheck.

SKB
07-09-2016, 12:47 PM
I thought the SS spousal benefit was a safeguard for women who took the traditional route.

I trusted, I believed he was as committed to the marriage as I was. I stayed home. His dinner was on the table at 5:30 every night. The house was clean, bills paid, laundry done, and the pantry, refrigerator and freezer were full. My career was stay at home wife and mother.

He was not worthy of such care.

He's not in good shape now. COPD, G6PD, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart disease and kidney failure that required a transplant. He's 69 but may live to be 100.

I've learned the hard way. Too soon old, too late smart!

Bones
07-10-2016, 01:27 AM
I thought the SS spousal benefit was a safeguard for women who took the traditional route.

I trusted, I believed he was as committed to the marriage as I was. I stayed home. His dinner was on the table at 5:30 every night. The house was clean, bills paid, laundry done, and the pantry, refrigerator and freezer were full. My career was stay at home wife and mother.

He was not worthy of such care.

He's not in good shape now. COPD, G6PD, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart disease and kidney failure that required a transplant. He's 69 but may live to be 100.

I've learned the hard way. Too soon old, too late smart!

what is stopping you from claiming on his record NOW. You were married fro 20 years and you can claim on his work record based on that. He does not have to be dead if you are divorced.

SKB
07-10-2016, 02:16 AM
I am currently receiving a reduced spousal benefit of $186 a month. His monthly benefit is about $4,000. His current wife is receiving half.

I paid for a divorce lawyer but did not get good representation. I took any job I could just to survive. Health issues surfaced and I was forced to quit working. I applied for disability and it was granted, so my income was from my work record, supplemental SS plus disability. Once I turned 62, SS moved the money around. Disability disappeared and now I get roughly the same amount but it comes from the ex's account. Why? Don't know. I had to jump through hoops to get it, and give them documentation that they already had.

The confusion comes from the inconsistent answers I've gotten through the years from SS. Which one is true?

I turn 66 and he's still alive or has died, I get my full 50%. I'm 64 now.

I'm not 66 yet, but he dies, so I get the 50%.

I will never get the 50% because I had to file early. The benefit I will receive will be greatly reduced.

There's only so much money to go around, so I may be out of luck.

Each rep swears they're telling me the truth. I wonder if the benefit you receive is based on the rep's knowledge. Does anyone check on them?

One woman I know refused to accept the benefit amount they told her she was entitled to from her husband's account. She said she told them to keep digging, and she received an extra $500 added to her monthly check.

SKB
07-10-2016, 02:45 AM
I just emailed a lawyer who advertises on TV. They specialize in SS disability cases, but maybe they can refer me to someone if they don't have the answers to my questions.

SKB
07-21-2016, 07:52 PM
I called SS today, and after being on hold for an hour, spoke with a testy, irritable woman who told me that any US citizen who moves to another country permanently must register with the U.S. embassy in that country. End of story.

Boy was she cranky!

I never did hear back from the TV lawyer. What a surprise....

rice paddy daddy
07-24-2016, 12:14 PM
Their response is always that they will let me know when he dies, but I'll bet I end up telling them instead.

I read somewhere that they are trained to only answer questions, not volunteer additional information. It just depends on who answers the call, some reps are very chatty, others say next to nothing and give yes or no answers.

It's frustrating. I want what I'm entitled to, but they make me feel like the money is coming out of their paycheck.

I have always dealt with SS representatives in person, at the SS office in "The Big City".
Yes, it is a 45 min drive one way, but the people my wife and I have spoken with are knowledgeable.
My first contact with them at age 65 to get enrolled in Medicare resulted in the agent voluntarily giving me information about how to get maximum benefit while retiring early and continuing to work. "Now, I can't suggest you do this, BUT, if it was ME, this is how I'd do it." ;) I ended up losing $92/month by starting early while continuing to earn $40,000/year at my job.
He even did the math and said the difference wouldn't even catch up until I was age 84, or something like that. :D

Go see them in person. I usually have to sit in the waiting room for an hour or so - but even that is enlightening. I see people with disabilities, etc, that really makes me grateful to God that I have something as simple as arms and legs that still work. Well, as good as they can for 68 years of hard use.

SKB
07-24-2016, 04:26 PM
Go see them in person. I usually have to sit in the waiting room for an hour or so - but even that is enlightening. I see people with disabilities, etc, that really makes me grateful to God that I have something as simple as arms and legs that still work. Well, as good as they can for 68 years of hard use.

Yes, I've decided to go to a satellite SS office from now on instead of calling. It won't be as crowded.

When I see a disabled person I ask God to bless them because I know how very hard it is. I don't look it, but I am one of them. Living below the poverty level has to be experienced to be understood. The simplest things are difficult to accomplish because there are so many obstacles.

My next door neighbor worked for the IRS and she had great plans for her retirement. Then she developed severe macular degeneration and all of the magnification devices available didn't help, so she had to quit. She's now blind. Goodbye plans. She's understandably angry and bitter. She doesn't go outside any more. Her benefits have been cut and she struggles.

The neighbor next to her is my age (64) and he was badly injured in a motorcycle accident years ago. He has brain damage, he cannot read. He's got one leg and cannot use one arm. He lives with his 90 year old mother. SS decided he was no longer disabled, so they cut his benefits by $200 a month.

The neighbor on the corner had his food stamp benefit reduced to $1 a month.

I rejoiced when they cut my benefits, I never wanted them in the first place. It was a great opportunity to get free. All I have left to get rid of is subsidized housing.

And that brings me to the despair I feel when it comes to the future. My great hope, the light at the end of the tunnel was the 50% spousal benefit I would get once I turned 66 and he eventually departed. I've heard different versions of what I will receive, from the 50% to next to nothing.

I'm planning to move back to the city because the small town I live in now has 0 resources. It's God's waiting room. Abandon all hope all ye who take up residence here.

God willing I'll live another 30 years, I just need to get out of here.

Colorado
07-24-2016, 05:29 PM
I think $817 off your ex husband's account is pretty good. I would think medicare would know if he died Be no bills coming through. He will most likely die in a hospital and they send in records I would guess;

SKB
07-24-2016, 05:47 PM
The only $ coming from my ex's account is $186. The rest is my SS and supplemental SS. No disability. He's getting $4,000+ a month, 50% would be a nice income for me.

You've no doubt read of dead people continuing to receive SS for YEARS before SS catches on. Besides, I haven't used my Medicare in years, but I'm very much alive. I did recently buy an Aetna supplement, so there is some activity on the account.

He could also die at home, in his sleep and be buried on his property.

He's not one for rule following, neither is wifey.

Colorado
07-24-2016, 08:54 PM
We can die anywhere. Our time can be anytime and we never know.I have out lived my brother and two sister in age. 63, 56. 72. I am 84. 3 of their kids has gone.

Yes I have heard of dead people drawing SS. rare. .

Bones
07-24-2016, 10:53 PM
The only $ coming from my ex's account is $186. The rest is my SS and supplemental SS. No disability. He's getting $4,000+ a month, 50% would be a nice income for me.

You've no doubt read of dead people continuing to receive SS for YEARS before SS catches on. Besides, I haven't used my Medicare in years, but I'm very much alive. I did recently buy an Aetna supplement, so there is some activity on the account.

He could also die at home, in his sleep and be buried on his property.

He's not one for rule following, neither is wifey.

You sure about that amount? Everything I have read is today SS Max is just under $3,000 a month and that is if your income was the Max amount for 35 years.

SKB
07-24-2016, 10:59 PM
You sure about that amount? Everything I have read is today SS Max is just under $3,000 a month and that is if your income was the Max amount for 35 years.

I was given the info a few years ago by a very talkative SS rep. He said my benefit amount would be $2,038 a month if I were eligible for it at that time. Things may have changed or he could have been mistaken. The ex worked full time for 40 years.

Bones
07-24-2016, 11:21 PM
I was given the info a few years ago by a very talkative SS rep. He said my benefit amount would be $2,038 a month if I were eligible for it at that time. Things may have changed or he could have been mistaken. The ex worked full time for 40 years.

I do not know much about the divorced draw rate. You best bet is to educate yourself on what you are entitled to. Know more than the SS office knows. Make copies of what you read on their own site. If you got information from a site other than SS you need to find that information on their site to verify it is still current.

This is from their website. Note: Your benefit as a divorced spouse is equal to one-half of your ex-spouse's full retirement amount (or disability benefit) if you start receiving benefits at your full retirement age. The benefits do not include any delayed retirement credits your ex-spouse may receive.

If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record and divorced spouse’s benefits, we will pay the retirement benefit first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on your ex-spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.

Note: If you were born before January 2, 1954 and have already reached full retirement age, you can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefit until a later date. If your birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists. If you file for one benefit, you will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits

Note: If your former spouse is deceased and you need information about possible survivor benefits, please read, "If You're the Worker's Surviving Divorced Spouse."

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

SKB
07-25-2016, 12:12 AM
Thanks, Bones. When I turn 66 and if SS still exists and the world hasn't ended, I'll pursue this in earnest.

My original question was about finding out when he dies because he's now living in another country. SS told me to keep tabs on him, but it's getting tougher.

anna
02-22-2017, 03:30 AM
SS is automatically deposited to a bank account. Once the bank is aware of the death they will return the funds to SS. Also, in order to collect the death benefit notification of death must be made. Plus what you were told about foreign national having to register with their embassy. Its unlikely his death will go unreported.

As long as current spouse is on Facebook and unaware that you're reading it, that is probably your best source of information.

SKB
06-21-2017, 11:31 PM
SS sent me a condolence letter the other day. I was shocked, I hadn't expected to hear from them about my ex passing away. I'm entitled to some money, so they're sending me the paperwork to fill out. They didn't have any details to share other than he died on June 10.

We haven't had contact in 14 years, but I still found myself grieving. We were married for 22 years. When I searched for info on him online, the usual people search pages showed up. Although he remarried in 2010, his current wife is not listed as a possible relative, I am. It makes me wonder if they were legally married.

I have outlived 2 ex husbands. The adventure continues...

rice paddy daddy
06-22-2017, 01:49 AM
I hope you get every penny that is allowed to you.
Hang in there.

SKB
06-22-2017, 06:30 PM
Thank you.

Bones
06-22-2017, 10:20 PM
Sorry for your loss, and now you know the answer to the question you asked.

Hope your dealings with SS is easy and you receive your share.

SKB
06-23-2017, 11:17 AM
Sorry for your loss, and now you know the answer to the question you asked. Hope your dealings with SS is easy and you receive your share.

Thanks.
SS did follow through on notification.
No more marriages for me!