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What makes you eligible for an ex-spouse’s Social Security?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2023 | Family Law

Social Security benefits are an important source of financial security for many Minnesota residents, and understanding the rules for collecting benefits after a divorce helps you develop a clearer picture of your options.

In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to collect Social Security based on your former spouse’s work record.

Length of marriage

A key factor in determining eligibility for a former partner’s Social Security is the duration of the marriage. To collect an ex’s Social Security, your marriage must have lasted at least ten years. If the marriage lasted less than a decade, you generally do not qualify for these benefits.

Current marital status

To collect benefits using your former spouse’s work record, you must not remarry. If you do remarry, you become ineligible for these benefits, except in specific situations.

Age requirements

Another aspect of eligibility is your age. If you are at least 62, you may be eligible to collect benefits based on your former spouse’s Social Security record. However, there is an important point to consider. If you decide to collect benefits before you reach full retirement age, your benefit amount may be lower than it would be otherwise.

Former spouse’s benefit status

Your former spouse must be eligible for Social Security benefits for you to be eligible for benefits based on his or her record. It is worth noting that your ex-spouse’s decision to collect benefits does not affect your eligibility or the amount you can receive based on his or her work record.

CNBC reports that about 30% of Americans are unaware that collecting Social Security using a former spouse’s work record may be possible. However, for individuals who sacrificed their own careers or education for the sake of their spouse, doing so may make financial sense.