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What Happens When Dividing Your Spouse’s Social Security

Retirement Benefits After a Divorce?

If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:

1. You are unmarried;

2. You are age 62 or older;

3. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and;

4. 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.

Life After Divorce

If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce or annulment). However, if your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years.

In dividing Social Security Retirement benefits, if you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record, Social Security will pay that amount first. If the benefit of your ex-Husband or ex-Wife’s record is a higher amount, you will get a combination of benefits that equals that higher amount (reduced for age).

If you have reached full retirement age and you are eligible for a spouse’s benefit and your own retirement benefit, you have a choice: you can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefits now and delay receiving retirement benefits until a later date. If retirement benefits are delayed, a higher benefit may be received at a later date based on the effect of delayed retirement credits.

If you continue to work while receiving benefits, the retirement benefit earnings limit still applies. If you are eligible for benefits this year and are still working, you can use an earnings test calculator available on the Social Security website to see how those earnings would affect your benefit payments.

The amount of benefits you receive has no effect on the amount of benefits your ex-spouse or their current spouse may receive.Retirement Assets and Divorce


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