Ex-Spouse Benefits And How They Affect You

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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767 thoughts on “Ex-Spouse Benefits And How They Affect You

  1. thats not right my ex’s collected money from taxes filing jointly and just because i remarried i cant collect from them i will be 62 next year i have 3 ex’s and one is deceased why cant i collect from any of them not ssure if the other one is still alive but my recent ex is still alive

  2. I Will Be Turning 60 next Month and I Am On Disability. I am Requireing about My Exhusbands Retirement Account and If I would Recieve funds?

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for using our blog. If your ex-husband worked long enough under Social Security, there may be benefits payable to survivors. You may be eligible for reduced widows benefits as early as age 60. If you are disabled, you could begin receiving benefits as early as age 50, if the disability started before or within 7 years of your husband’s death. You may be eligible for benefits regardless of your age if you’re caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving benefits on the deceased’s record. Survivor benefit amounts are based on your husband’s earnings. The more he paid into Social Security, the higher the benefits would be. The benefits will not be established automatically, you will have to contact us. For additional information, visit our Survivors Planner.

      If you would like to apply, call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

    • Hi Lulu, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. We will always pay your own retirement benefit 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 spouse benefit. However, the spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (not their reduced benefit amount). So, you can only receive additional divorced sspouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not your reduced benefit) is less than half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit. If you file before your full retirement age, your own retirement and your divorced spouse’s benefit is reduced.

      Generally, during the initial interview when applying for Social Security benefits, we typically explore all other benefits that could yield you a higher benefit amount. To find out if you are eligible for a higher benefit amount, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

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