I’m marrying a non-citizen. Can they get Social Security benefits?

I’m marrying a non-citizen. Can they get Social Security benefits?

Q. I am about to marry a Filipina non-U.S. citizen who has never been to the United States. She has a seven-year-old and has never been married. If I die, is it correct that she can collect benefits on account of the child and also when she turns 60 or 62?

— Getting hitched

A. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage.

We’re glad you’re asking about these benefits so you can plan for your new family’s future.

If you are already collecting Social Security benefits, your soon-to-be wife will be eligible to receive spousal benefits after one year of marriage and reaching age 62 years old or older, said Samer Eshmawy, a certified financial planner with Modera Wealth Management in Westwood.

“Your wife will be eligible to receive benefits while caring for the child under the age of 16 after one year of marriage and proof that you, as the insured worker, are providing half of the support to the child,” he said. “This is because she is receiving her Social Security benefits through her being married to you and not her own work credits.”

If you pass away, your wife and stepchild will be eligible for benefits if you have been married for at least 9 months, Eshmawy said.

“Your wife would be eligible for surviving spouse benefits when she reaches age 60,” he said. “Your wife would also be entitled to benefits while caring for the child under the age of 16. In addition, the child would also be eligible for benefits until age 18, or up until age 19 if still in high school.”

You can always contact Social Security so it can give you more specifics on your future benefits.

Email your questions to [email protected].

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com’s weekly e-newsletter.

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