Social Security Benefits for Divorcees

Social Security on Ex-Spouse Record

Generally, if you are divorced, you can claim Social Security benefits on your ex-spouses record if you were married for 10 years or more. Most of the standard rules apply.  If you are at least 62 years old, you can claim on your ex's record.  The amount is based on your ex-spouse's earnings and your age at the time you claim the benefits.  There is an important difference, as long as you qualify, you can claim your Social Security based on your ex-spouse' record even if they haven't yet started Social Security.  Married couples can't do this because you cannot claim benefits under your spouse's record until they start Social Security.  

 Eligible if Married for 10 Years

If you are divorced and your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can generally can receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record. The following apply:

  •  You are unmarried;
  •  You are age 62 or older;
  • You have been divorced for 2 years;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse's work.

Social Security is Half

Normally, your benefit as a divorced spouse is one-half of your ex-spouse's retirement or disability amount at your full retirement age. You do not benefit from any delayed retirement credits of your ex spouse.

Remarry and Benefits Stop

If you remarry, your benefits will stop.  If it ends,  your benefits will resume.  Your ex-spouse's marriage status is irrelevant.

Social Security even if He is not Claiming

You can get these benefits even if your ex-spouse is not yet receiving his Social Security.

Social Security for the Higher Benefit

If you can get Social Security based  on your own record and a divorced spouse's benefits, the benefit will only be the higher of the two amounts.

Survivor Benefits for Divorced Spouses

If your ex-spouse dies, you are entitled to survivor benefits based on your ex-spouses record.  If you remarry after age 60, then you do not lose the right to survivor benefits.  If you remarry before 60, you do.  If you are disabled, you can remarry at 50 and not lose the benefits.  

GPO and WEP

If you receive a pension or disability from a source which was exempt from the social security tax, your Social Security Benefit may be reduced under the Government Pension Offest or the Windfall Elimination Provision.

Elder, Wills, Estates, Trusts, Special Needs Tax & Business Law; Attorney John Sweeney

Sweeney Legal, LLC, provides legal, practical, and business counsel to Seniors, families, and businesses in the Fairfield, Connecticut area, including the communities of Bridgeport, Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, New Canaan, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton. John is also licensed in New York serving Westchester County including the towns of Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, and Somers.

Menu