Can You Claim An Ex-Spouse’s Social Security Benefits?
You may have heard rumors that you can claim an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits after a divorce, but is it really true? It is—when you retire, you can opt for either your benefits or half of your ex-spouse’s benefits, whichever is more. So if your benefits are $1,000 a month and your ex-spouse’s are $3,000 a month, you would want to choose your ex-spouse’s, since that would give you $1,500 a month. However, if your benefits are more, then you would not want to claim your ex-spouse’s benefits.
What Rules Apply?
However, it’s not really that easy. Like with anything, there are some rules that apply. They include the following:
- You and your ex-spouse must have been married for at least 10 years
- Both of you must be at least 62 years old
- You must have been divorced for at least two years, or your ex-spouse must be already claiming benefits.
- You must not be remarried.
There is a catch, though. While you must be at least 62 years old to claim your ex-spouse’s benefit, you will not receive the 50% you are entitled to until you reach your full retirement age. Full retirement age is between 66 and 67 years old, depending on your birth year.
Also, you can still receive your ex’s benefits if he or she has died. You would file as a surviving ex-spouse. Let the Social Security Administration know of your situation.
What Will Happen to My Ex-Spouse’s Benefits?
If you claim your ex-spouse’s benefits, he or she will never know. You don’t have to tell them, nor will the Social Security Administration tell them. Your ex-spouse’s benefits will not be affected at all when it’s time for them to receive benefits. They will still receive their full amount of benefits, and vice versa. If your ex-spouse claims your benefits, you will not be affected either. If your ex-spouse remarries, his or her current spouse will be able to claim the ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits as well without any issues.
However, if you remarry, then you cannot claim your ex-spouse’s benefits. You would only be able to claim your current spouse’s benefits. However, if your second marriage ends in divorce or death, then you can choose the benefits of either spouse, assuming either of them has a higher benefit amount than yours.
So don’t worry about your ex-spouse influencing your benefits. If you want to claim your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, make an appointment with your local Social Security office. Bring documents that show you were married and divorced. They will calculate your and your ex-spouse’s benefits so you can see which one is higher.
Seek Help for Your Divorce
Divorce often leaves people poor. Therefore, it’s important that you take advantage of any financial benefits to you after a divorce, and Social Security is one of them.
The Dade City & Zephyrhills divorce attorneys at Mander Law Group can advise you of your legal rights and the benefits you are entitled to receive after a divorce. Schedule a consultation by filling out the online form or calling (800) 557-0411.