Let’s learn more about how you can qualify for ex-spousal benefits and how much you can expect to earn.
Eligibility Requirements for a Divorced Spouse
To collect Social Security on your former spouse’s earnings record, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years.
- You must be at least 62 years old.
- You cannot be currently married.
- You must be entitled to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits at the time the former spouse applies.
Your former spouse does NOT have to be collecting their retirement benefits for you to collect. However, if this is the case, the divorce will need to be at least 2 years old.
How Much Social Security Will You Get?
The most you can collect in ex-spousal benefits is 50 percent of your former partner’s primary insurance amount, or the monthly payment they’re entitled to at full retirement age. You can get the maximum if you file for ex-spouse benefits when you reach full retirement age, which is between 66 and 67. If you claim earlier, your benefit will be reduced to as low as 32.5 percent of your ex’s full benefit.
When Can You File for Ex-Spousal Benefits?
The earliest you can file for ex-spousal benefits is three months before your 62nd birthday. You can do this online through your Social Security account or by calling 1-800-772-1213. You can also make an appointment at your local Social Security office.
If you have questions about the process, or need help deciding when you should take the benefits, consult with a financial advisor. Ideally, you should wait to claim Social Security so that you can take home the full benefit. However, depending on your current situation, this may not be in your best interests.
Can You Combine Your Social Security with Your Divorced-Spouse Benefits?
If you are already receiving retirement benefits on your own work record, you can also claim any divorced-spouse benefits you are eligible for. However, Social Security will not pay you both. You will receive whatever amount is higher.
The same is true if you had multiple marriages and divorces. While you are eligible for benefits from these marriages (if they lasted 10+ years), you can’t collect multiple benefits. Only one. But you will get whatever one is highest.
Social Security benefits can get confusing when you want to claim your ex-spouse’s benefits. But Leonard Financial Solutions is here to help. Schedule an appointment with us to learn more about how to maximize your Social Security benefits as a divorced spouse.