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  #1  
Old 07-02-2016, 07:46 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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Default How will SS know?

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.
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2016, 09:15 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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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.
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  #3  
Old 07-02-2016, 09:31 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doninalaska View Post
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. 😠
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  #4  
Old 07-03-2016, 01:16 AM
Bones Bones is offline
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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
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  #5  
Old 07-03-2016, 03:21 AM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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.
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  #6  
Old 07-03-2016, 11:38 AM
Bones Bones is offline
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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
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  #7  
Old 07-03-2016, 12:08 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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.
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  #8  
Old 07-03-2016, 01:07 PM
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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.
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  #9  
Old 07-03-2016, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
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.
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2016, 09:09 AM
Bones Bones is offline
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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
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  #11  
Old 07-08-2016, 11:26 AM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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Thanks, Bones. I'll save the info.
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  #12  
Old 07-08-2016, 11:30 PM
Bones Bones is offline
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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.
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  #13  
Old 07-08-2016, 11:39 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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.
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2016, 11:58 AM
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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.
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2016, 12:24 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
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.
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  #16  
Old 07-09-2016, 12:47 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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!
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2016, 01:27 AM
Bones Bones is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKB View Post
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.
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  #18  
Old 07-10-2016, 02:16 AM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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.
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  #19  
Old 07-10-2016, 02:45 AM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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.
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  #20  
Old 07-21-2016, 07:52 PM
SKB Female SKB is offline
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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....

Last edited by SKB; 07-21-2016 at 07:56 PM. Reason: Addition.
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