Retirement Planning for Divorced Individuals: Entitlement to Social Security After Divorce

If your marriage lasted for 10 years or longer and you are now divorced, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, regardless of if they have remarried, so long as you meet the following requirements:

  • You must be 62 years of age or older;
  • You must be unmarried;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work record is lower than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s record.

Generally, if you remarry, you cannot collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record unless your later marriage ends either by death, divorce, or annulment.  Even if your ex-spouse has not applied to receive his/her retirement benefits, but qualifies for them, you can receive benefits based on their record if you have been divorced for two years or more.

According to the U.S. Social Security website, if you continue to work while receiving benefits, the retirement benefit earnings limit still applies. Also, if you will receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your Social Security benefit on your ex-spouse’s record may be affected.  Importantly, if you are receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, the amount of benefits you get has no effect on the amount your ex-spouse or their current spouse may receive.

 

Additional Information and Resources can be found at:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/retirement.htm