Am I eligible to collect an ex-spousal benefit if my ex’s benefit is higher than mine?

Published: September 9, 2021

Full question: I was married to my husband for 17 years and then divorced, can I draw my ex-husband benefit since his is higher than mine?

Hi there,

Yes, you may be eligible to collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings if you were married at least 10 years, are currently single, your ex-spouse is collecting retirement benefits, and you are 62 or older.

If you have been divorced for at least 2 years, you are “independently entitled’ and eligible to collect ex-spousal benefits even if you ex is not yet collecting retirement benefits.

The maximum ex-spousal amount you are eligible to receive is 50 percent of your ex-spouse’s full retirement age (FRA) benefit, but the exact amount depends on when you begin collecting the benefit.

When you apply for Social Security benefits you will only collect the higher of your own retirement benefit, or the ex-spousal benefit. Therefore, you may find that, depending on the time you collect, your own benefit may be higher.

An expert advisor can help you with a Social Security plan that will help you with your options to make sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

Warm regards,
Martha

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