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True love may be forever, but Social Security still has rules

How long do you have to be married for a spouse to receive Social Security checks? @Davidlaz has the answer

Bill is 67 and in poor health. He says he has a lung disorder and "probably won't be around a whole lot longer."

He's wondering what would happen if he got married and died a few months later.

More to the point: Would his wife be eligible to receive his Social Security payments?

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First of all, it's impressive that Bill is thinking of others at this point in his life. He's clearly hoping to look after someone special after his exit from this mortal coil.

That said, and true love notwithstanding, it's hard not to think that Bill's trying to pull a fast one on the Social Security Administration. It seems that he wants his Social Security checks to outlive him.

Officials at the federal program already have put some thought to this and they don't want people marrying on the fly just to feather other people's nests.

For that reason, the agency requires that a couple be married at least 10 years to be eligible for one spouse's checks to go to the other. Your former spouse also must be at least 62 and unmarried.

More info on these rules can be found here.

If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.




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