Liz Weston: Sorry. Social Security doesn’t care about the details of your divorce decree

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Dear Liz: I am in my third marriage. My first two marriages lasted 10 years each. My spouses have worked in jobs requiring them to contribute to social security. I am currently retired (since 1999) and have worked for a municipal administration my entire career. I am currently receiving a city pension. Am I entitled to receive anything from Social Security during the time I was married to my previous spouses? It seems fair since I had to pay each of them spousal support.

Responnse: This is a new argument! Sadly, the Social Security system doesn’t care about the details of your divorce judgments.

You can call Social Security and ask if you are entitled to a benefit, but don’t be hopeful if your pension comes from a job that did not contribute to Social Security. A provision known as government pension compensation would likely eliminate any divorced spouse or divorced survivor benefit you might receive.

Dear Liz: Our 23 year old daughter has a low limit credit card from her bank, mainly to establish her credit history. For the same purpose, we have also added it as an authorized user on one of our credit cards (yes, we can trust it). When she recently checked her credit reports on annualcreditreport.com, one of the agencies produced a report, but another claimed they couldn’t find it. Is this normal for a relatively new credit user? Could it be because she has a middle name made up of a hyphen? Should we be worried?

Responnse: It may take 30 days or more for the information to update at the credit bureaus, so she should try again and check the third credit bureau as well. If two offices cannot find it after 30 days, then it is possible that both credit cards fall under one office. In this case, she should consider obtaining a credit loan from a credit union that reports to the three bureaus.

If not, the problem is most likely with the credit bureau, and she should try ordering the missing credit report through the US Mail. The office that could not find it will have instructions for requesting a report this way on its site.

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions can be directed to him at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or by using the “Contact” form at asklizweston.com.


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