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Receiving Social Security Benefits on Your Ex-Spouse's Record

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One issue that comes up often in divorce is Social Security benefits, especially when we're dealing with Baby Boomers. Can you receive a portion of your ex's Social Security benefits?

If your ex husband or wife is at least 62 years old, you would be entitled to half of their benefits, providing you meet the following criteria:

  • Your marriage lasted at least ten years.
  • You are at least 62 years old. (If your ex has passed away, you can start collecting once you reach 60 years of age.)
  • Your Social Security benefits under your work record are less than your ex-spouse's. (You are only able to receive one Social Security benefit).
  • You are not married.

If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your ex-spouse's record unless your new marriage ends by annulment, death, or divorce.

Are you eligible on your own record?

If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record, the Social Security Administration will pay that amount first. However, if your ex's record is a higher amount, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount, with reductions for age.

If you have reached full retirement age and you are eligible for your ex-spouse's benefit and your own retirement benefit, you can choose to receive only your ex's benefits, thereby delaying the receipt of your benefits until a later date, or you may receive a higher benefit at a later date as an effect of the delayed retirement credits.

Note: The amount of benefits that you receive on your ex's record has no effect on the benefits that your ex, or their current spouse may receive.

Do you have further questions about Social Security and divorce? If so, please contact a Los Angeles divorce attorney from Claery & Hammond, LLPfor a free case evaluation.


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