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Can you get your spouse’s Social Security after divorce?

by | Dec 21, 2022 | Divorce

In Florida, as in other states, many marriages end in divorce. If you are considering your future retirement as a single person yet don’t know if your Social Security benefit will be enough, you could receive a significant financial benefit for delaying the dissolution of your marriage.

Following are a few requirements and ways that holding off could increase your Social Security benefits in retirement.

Are you eligible?

Once you reach the legal age for retirement, you can begin receiving benefits. However, if you didn’t work during the marriage, your work record may not provide much or anything in terms of Social Security benefits. To be eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record, you must have stayed married for 10 years or longer.

In family law if your ex-spouse remarries, you are still eligible to receive the spousal benefit. However, if you remarry, you are no longer eligible for benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record as long as they are alive.

Spousal benefits

You may be able to claim Social Security benefits after divorce based on your ex-spouse’s work record. You must decide whether the amount you receive exceeds the Social Security benefit you would get based on your work record. You can only receive one or the other, not both benefits.

When receiving spousal benefits, you can qualify for up to half the amount your spouse receives. The payments made to you do not reduce or otherwise affect the Social Security benefits your ex-spouse receives.

Survivor benefits

If your ex-spouse passes away, you may receive Social Security income through survivor benefits. If you get remarried after age 60, you may still be eligible for survivor benefits. However, you must still have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years.

Being aware of the rules about divorce and Social Security benefits could help you secure significantly more Social Security income in your retirement years.