Beware Social Security’s remarriage rule

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If you’re middle-aged and thinking of getting remarried, be very careful about how you time your nuptials. That’s because whether you get married before the day you turn 60 or after the day you turn 60 could impact your eligibility for survivor benefits from a prior marriage.

Under Social Security rules, if you get remarried before turning 60, you lose the right to receive survivor benefits from your previous marriage. However, if you get married the day you turn 60 or any time afterwards, you are still eligible. This is true regardless of whether your earlier marriage ended in divorce or because of the death of your previous spouse.

The rules have additional quirks. For example, if you were to marry at, say, age 59, you would be giving up any claim to survivor benefits based on your previous marriage. But if your new marriage ends in divorce or the death of your new spouse, you would once again be eligible for survivor benefits stemming from your previous marriage. You might even be able to choose between benefits from your first marriage or your second marriage.

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