If you are divorced and 62 or older, you may qualify to receive Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse — in addition to your own Social Security payments. Ask a RSSA® for details.

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Divorced? You may be able to collect Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse

If you’re planning for your retirement, it pays to know all of the benefits you may be entitled to. If you are divorced, you may be eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on the earnings of your ex-spouse — and that’s in addition to your own Social Security benefits. An Advisor with the RSSA® credential can guide you every step of the way.

How do I know I am eligible for Social Security benefits from my ex-spouse?

Requirements include:

  • Your marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years
  • You must be at least 62
  • You are currently single
  • As a former spouse, you must be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits at the time your former spouse applies.
  • You can receive benefits on an ex-spouse’s record if you have been divorced for at least two continuous years and the ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits but qualifies for them.

What are some considerations that I need to be aware of?

  • Timing matters: When you apply for spousal benefits as a divorced spouse, Social Security will assume you are also applying for benefits based on your own work record, and you’ll be eligible for whichever amount is higher. If your benefit is lower, Social Security will first pay you an amount based on your record, then make up the difference between that and what you’re eligible for on your ex-spouse’s record.
  • Your birthday can affect payout options: If you were born before January 2, 1954, and have already reached full retirement age, you can choose to receive only your divorced spouse’s benefit and defer on your own until a later date. (If your birthday is January 2, 1954, or later, this option no longer exists.)
  • If one or both of you has remarried: Typically, if you are divorced, you are entitled to a Social Security benefit that’s equivalent to 50 percent of the ex-spouse’s retirement benefit — even if your ex has remarried. BUT, if you remarry and are still receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse entitlement (and your ex is still alive), you will no longer be eligible for those benefits.

The takeaway

Cutting the ties on a marriage does not necessarily mean cutting the ties to your ex’s Social Security benefits. Only Registered Social Security Analysts® have the education and training provided by NARSSA (the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts), to help you collect all of the benefits you may be entitled to — for a more financially secure retirement!

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Talk with a Registered Social Security Analyst — a trained advisor for a free, no-obligation consultation. If you decide to engage the RSSA®, you’ll receive a comprehensive personalized analysis and advice that may provide you with thousands or tens of thousands more in lifetime benefits.

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