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Woman Says Her Mom Was Her Dad’s First Wife, So She’s The Only One Out Of Four Wives Who Can Collect His Social Security

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woman cashing check at bank

Divorce can be messy, and so can dealing with the aftermath. But one mother and daughter found a reason to celebrate.

Amanda Hardesty, a realtor and home stager from Virginia, known as @amandarealvarealtor on TikTok, took to the app with her mother to join in on a trend.

Recently, people have been posting videos using the Fleetwood Mac song “Silver Springs” to share reasons their exes will never be able to forget them. Hardesty’s mother has a pretty good reason.

Hardesty says that mother will be the only one of her father’s four wives to collect his Social Security.

In a video that showed Hardesty pointing at her mom while they both smile, the text reads, “When your mom was the 1st wife, and only the 1st wife… can collect on my dad’s Social Security.”



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The video initially confused viewers, with many wondering what rule was in place that meant only the first wife could collect on her ex-husband’s Social Security benefits. “No. I can draw my ex-husband’s and I was his second wife,” one commenter wrote. Another said, “Wrong!! They can all collect!!”

To clear up the bewilderment, Hardesty posted a second video. Replying to a comment that said, “Only 1 person should get survivor benefits. No wonder our SS system is going broke,” Hardesty clarified that she and her mother were referring to spousal benefits, not survivor benefits.

“If it’s the spousal, you can get up to 50% of what your spouse was making,” she said. “Survivorship is a whole different thing.”



Hardesty also explained that the original video she and her mom made was a joke for the sake of the trend. Her father is still alive, he has multiple children, and everyone gets along fine. They meant nothing negative or malicious.

Hardesty stressed that anyone with concerns about receiving Social Security benefits after the death of a spouse should talk to their local Social Security Administration office to see what their options are.

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The real reason Hardesty’s mom can collect her dad’s Social Security has to do with time.

Detroit Divorce attorney Brent Bowyer has addressed this topic before. “If you’re married more than ten years, your wife can qualify for an amount for a benefit from Social Security that’s equal to 50% of your benefit, but it does not come out of your share,” he said.

The bottom line, Bowyer said, is that the money does not come out of the ex’s own Social Security benefits, so no one loses any money.



The Social Security Administration has also shared information on this topic. The SSA says that you can receive an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits if you were married for at least 10 years.

You also have to be unmarried when you receive the benefits, meaning that if you remarried, you must be separated from your new spouse by divorce or death. If you are eligible for your own benefits, the SSA will pay you whichever of the benefits is higher, not both.

The SSA does point out one thing that is important to remember: “The amount of benefits you get has no effect on the benefits of your ex-spouse and his or her current spouse.” This means that no one is worse off if you collect on those benefits.

While it may initially seem questionable that only one spouse out of four would collect Social Security benefits, it turns out that it’s completely legit given the specific circumstances

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.