AN: First, I’m going to give you an estimate of what you might owe on your ex-husband’s Social Security account. Then I’ll help you get more precise information from the people of the SSA.
Since your ex was a doctor, let’s assume that he has probably paid the maximum amount to Social Security for his entire life, which means that he will probably qualify for a very high monthly Social Security benefit. That rate is currently in the $3,100 range. At age 62, you should be paying about a third of that, or about $1,025 a month. If you wait until full retirement age to file, you’ll get a 50% rate, or $1,550 per month.
But you should be able to get accurate numbers from the Social Security Administration. You said you were trying but were told they couldn’t share that information with you. I’m afraid you’ve spoken to a slightly overzealous Social Security representative who takes the laws on Social Security file privacy a little too literally.
I suggest you call them back and hope you get a more informed and reliable representative. He or she won’t be able to tell you if your husband has applied for benefits or how much he is getting (or what he may owe). But the representative can tell you how much you qualify for on their behalf.
There is a chance that you will have to do this in person once the Social Security offices reopen. And that’s because technically, in order to get that information, you have to prove to the SSA that you are who you say you are and that you may be getting the divorcee’s benefit into their account. So you need your own proof of identity and you have to show a marriage certificate and divorce papers. And of course it helps a lot if you have your ex’s social security number.