Can my minor children collect Social Security benefits based on my ex-spouse’s earnings if he has not started collecting?

Published: September 9, 2021

Full question: I meet all the qualifications to receive Social Security under my ex’s record. I plan on starting benefits at 62 because I have minor children. I can not figure out what the child benefit would be. 50% of my ex’s FRA will be $2000. I will have 2 minor children. If he has yet to start receiving benefits, will the children’s amount be based on the amount I am receiving. My own record is very low. Thank you.

Hello,

Yes, minor children may be eligible for benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work record even if the ex-spouse in not yet collecting their retirement benefit.

With both ex-spousal benefits and child’s benefits, if you have been divorced for two or more years than you are considered “independently entitled” and the ex-spouse does not need to be collecting.

However, the spouse who has custody of the children must be collecting benefits at the same time.

Minor children are eligible for 50% of the higher earner’s full benefit, and more if they are collecting a survivor benefit.

The family maximum benefit rule will apply since the Social Security will only pay up to a certain amount of the worker’s benefit amount.

Children and ex-spousal benefits can be complicated, and many rules apply. To better understand your options, you should speak to an expert who will help you develop a plan to maximize your benefits.

Take care,
Martha

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