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My mother is a widow in her 80s. She is planning to remarry. Her boyfriend is also in his 80s and collecting social security. What will happen to her social security benefits? (When my daughter asked how old grandma's boyfriend is, I was tempted to say "17". But no.)

I found a couple of places (should have noted the URLs, sorry) that said that if a widow remarries after age 60 that she continues to receive her widow benefits. So does this mean that if my mother is collecting $X per month and her boyfriend is collecting $Y, that after they marry that between them they'll collect X+Y? Or is that not how it works? Are their other relevant factors, and if so, what?

My mother also has some income from an annuity, something like $600 per month. I don't know if her boyfriend has any other income.

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    Social Security law is extremely complex. As such, you, likely, will not get a simple answer, if you get any answer at all. – Jack Swayze Sr Dec 31 '15 at 6:08
  • Surely this is answered in the FAQs on the Social Security website? – Dilip Sarwate Dec 31 '15 at 15:37
  • @DilipSarwate "A government web site quotes the applicable regulations", and "a government web site explains in clear language" are not synonymous phrases. – Jay Dec 31 '15 at 18:50
  • @Jay Try not to be so snarky before you have visited the Social Security web site. It has pretty good explanations for most things, and at times even written at a level that someone who has barely completed high school can understand. – Dilip Sarwate Jan 1 '16 at 4:04
  • @DilipSarwate I didn't visit the SSA web site and read many pages looking for a clear and unambiguous answer. I should have quoted what I found, that might have made my difficulty more clear. Just BTW, I think your post is far more snarky than mine. – Jay Jan 3 '16 at 2:33
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From pages 9 and 10 of the Social Security booklet What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits:

If you get married or divorced, your Social Security benefits may be affected, depending on the kind of benefits you receive.

If we stop your benefits because of marriage or remarriage, we may start them again if the marriage ends.

  • If you get your own retirement benefits, then your benefits will continue.
  • If you get widow's or widower's benefits, then your benefits will continue if you remarry when you are age 60 or older.
  • If you get any other kind of benefits, then generally, your benefits will stop when you get married. Your benefits may be started again if the marriage ends.

Regrettably, the OP does not seem to think that this is is clear enough language.

  • Hmm, speaking of getting "snarky", you talk like I was insulting YOU when I said that what I found on ssa.gov was hard to understand. The second bullet in the text you quote is more clear than anything I was able to find. The statements I was able to find when I searched were things like, socialsecurity.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/…, "Your remarriage after age 60 does not prevent you from becoming entitled to benefits on your prior deceased spouse's Social Security earnings record." Does getting benefits on your "deceased spouse's earnings record" mean ... – Jay Jan 3 '16 at 2:26
  • ... that you continue to get the same amount that you received before the remarriage, or is there a more complex formula? The sentence you quote SOUNDS like it means that you continue to receive the same amount, but does that mean that if husband WAS getting X and wife WAS getting Y, that after the marriage they get X+Y, or not? I couldn't find an example that spelled this out clearly. "Benefits will continue" MAY mean "the same amount and your new husband continues to get the same amount he was getting before, period" ... or not. I was looking for a clear, unambiguous statement. – Jay Jan 3 '16 at 2:30

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