Retirement

Ex-Spouse Benefits And How They Affect You

February 15, 2018 • By

two women and child smiling Just like during tax season, it’s good to have all the information you need early so you can prepare and get any money you are due.

If you are age 62, unmarried, and divorced from someone entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you may be eligible to receive benefits based on his or her record. To be eligible, you must have been married to your ex-spouse for 10 years or more. If you have since remarried, you can’t collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later marriage ended by annulment, divorce, or death. Also, if you’re entitled to benefits on your own record, your benefit amount must be less than you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work. In other words, we’ll pay the higher of the two benefits for which you’re eligible, but not both.

You can apply for benefits on your former spouse’s record even if he or she hasn’t retired, as long as you divorced at least two years before applying. If, however, you decide to wait until full retirement age to apply as a divorced spouse, your benefit will be equal to half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount or disability benefit. The same rules apply for a deceased former spouse.

The amount of benefits you get has no effect on the benefits of your ex-spouse and his or her current spouse. Visit Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced to find all the eligibility requirements you must meet to apply as a divorced spouse. Our benefits planner gives you an idea of your monthly benefit amount. If your ex-spouse died after you divorced, you may still quality for widow’s benefits. You’ll find information about that in a note at the bottom of the website.

Visit Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced today to learn whether you’re eligible for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. That could mean a considerable amount of monthly income. What you learn may bring a smile to your face … even on tax day!

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Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

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  1. Welma

    When can u apply for your retirement benefits? Is it when u turn 62 or few months before 62?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Welma, thanks for using our blog. Our system is set up to take retirement applications four months in advance. When you’re ready, you can apply for your retirement benefits online.

      Reply
  2. Julie Shapiro Dawson

    Once I apply for my retirement benefits, if my husband should die before I do, would I be able to switch over to his social security benefits, if his are more than mine?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Julie, thank you for your question. The amount of your widows benefit is based on several factors, including: the earnings of the person who died, when the deceased worker started receiving their benefits, your age at the time of your spouse’s death, and the amount of your own retirement benefit. We compare your own benefit with your potential survivor benefit. If your survivor benefit would be higher than your own current retirement benefit at the time of your spouse’s passing, you would be eligible for survivor benefits.

      Typically, a widow or widower at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount, a widow or widower under full retirement age receives about 71 to 99 percent of the worker’s benefit amount, and a widow or widower with a child younger than age 16 receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. For more information about how much your benefit would be, visit our Survivors Planner.

      Reply
  3. Sandy Kincaid

    My ex and I divorced 11 years ago after being married 20 years. Does he get half of what I would have gotten when we got divorced or half of what I will get now?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Sandy, thanks for using our blog. If you are divorced and currently unmarried, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer. Your benefit as a divorced spouse can be equal to one-half of your ex’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age. If you begin to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to your full retirement age, your benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits you qualify for once you opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to your full retirement age.

      Remember, if you qualify for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a divorced spouse, we always pay your own retirement benefits first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit.

      See our Retirement Planner: If You’re Divorced for other eligibility requirements and more detailed information.

      Reply
  4. Sandy

    Does my ex collecting on my social security affect the amount of social security I’m entitled to?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Sandy, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. The amount of benefits your divorced spouse gets has no effect on the amount of benefits you or your current spouse may receive. Check out our Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse web page for additional details.

      Reply
  5. paula Griesman

    Can I have a review of my benefits. I thought I should have been receiving a higher amount when I applied for my deceased ex husbands benefits. I am financially pretty
    strapped, hoping my benefit should be higher.
    Where do I go for this information?

    Reply
  6. pedrochapman

    Nice post!
    These days, people face many problems in families that break peace and happiness of their lives and the issues like property settlement, unhappy married life, adoption, abduction, divorce, child support etc.These problems need extra attention to be done legally,so people need to hire family lawyer. admonton Spousal Support Lawyers

    Reply

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