Are you entitled to your ex-spouse’s Social Security?

When you and your husband or wife decide to divorce, you may have concerns about how to support yourself on one or no income. You may also have questions about whether you have any claim to any part of your former spouse’s retirement accounts or Social Security earnings. 

As long as you meet certain eligibility requirements, you should be able to collect ex-spousal Social Security benefits. What might these eligibility requirements include? 

Benefit eligibility

To become eligible to collect some of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits, he or she must have worked in a position covered by Social Security long enough to earn them. Also, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, and you must not have entered into another marriage in the time since your divorce. 

Additionally, you must be at least 62 years of age before you may claim Social Security. If you wish to collect Social Security ex-spousal earnings before your former spouse does, you must wait at least two years from the date your divorce becomes final before you may do so. 

Benefit amounts

If you want to maximize how much you receive in divorced-spouse benefits, you should wait until you reach full retirement age before claiming them. At this point, you may have entitlement to as much as 50% of your former spouse’s benefits. You have the option of claiming benefits as soon as you reach retirement age. However, doing so before reaching full retirement age reduces how much you receive with each payment.