Does Divorce Disqualify You from Spousal Benefits?

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Social Security can be impacted by divorce.

People have many different thoughts, feelings, and opinions about Social Security.

For some people, this program IS their only source of retirement income.

Even those who do not need Social Security still expect to receive monthly benefits because of the payments they made into the system while working.

Every month they did their patriotic chore by ponying up a chunk from each paycheck to the Social Security Trust Fund.

According to a recent The Motley Fool article titled “Divorced? Don’t Make This Social Security Mistake,” those who worked as homemakers are also eligible for benefits based on the working history of their spouse.

Divorce does not disqualify you from spousal social security benefits.
You do not need permission from your ex after a divorce to claim spousal benefits off his or her work history.

What happens if your spouse divorces you?

You may still be able to collect spousal Social Security based on the work history of your ex.

Even if you had a less-than-amicable divorce, you could still make claims for a spousal benefit.

The Social Security Administration does not seek or require approval from your ex.

What if you have your own work history for Social Security?

Although the spousal benefit is only up to 50 percent of the value of the benefit available to the spouse who worked, the check may still be larger than what you would receive for your own work history.

For example, if your full benefit is $1,500 a month from your work history and your ex qualifies for a monthly benefit of $3,200 a month, you will earn $100 more a month by filing for the spousal benefit rather than your own benefit.

What rules govern the claiming of spousal benefits?

If you are still married, you must wait to claim a spousal benefit until your spouse has filed for his or her Social Security.

The rules are different if you are divorced.

To claim a spousal benefit, you can file a claim at age 62 as long as you have been divorced for at least two years.

Even though you can claim the spousal benefit at age 62, you will receive a reduced payment.

To receive the full spousal benefit amount, you will need to wait to file a claim until you have reached full retirement age yourself.

Other rules regarding length of marriage and remarriage status also affect spousal benefits.

To be eligible to make a claim on the Social Security of your ex-spouse, you must have been married for at least ten years.

If you have remarried since your marriage to your ex, you can only make a claim on the Social Security of your ex if this remarriage ends through annulment, divorce, or death.

When filing for Social Security, it is helpful to know the amount of your benefit and the spousal benefit to select the best financial option.

ReferenceThe Motley Fool (July 26, 2023) “Divorced? Don’t Make This Social Security Mistake,”

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