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Can I get my spouse’s social security?

By Alisse C. Camazine

This issue is oftentimes a huge concern at the time of a divorce. There are several eligibility requirements:

1.  You must be married for ten years. Therefore, the timing of a divorce needs to be planned if you are close to the 10 year period.

2.  You must not be married.

3.  The ex-spouse must be at least 62 and you must be 62.

The benefit you receive from an ex-spouse must be more than the benefits you are entitled to receive from your own work history. If your ex-spouse has not applied for benefits but is age 62 and qualifies you can receive benefits if you have been divorced for at least 2 years. Further, If your ex-spouse is deceased and you become disabled and are over 50, if your marriage was at least 10 years, you may also be eligible for social security benefits.

There are also other considerations. If you were married more than once, you may be eligible for social security from either spouse, if you were married more than 10 years each time. If your ex-spouse died, there may additional survivor benefits that you can obtain.

Remember that if you change your name at the time of the divorce, you need to report this to the social security office.

When you begin drawing social security, your receipt of benefits will not affect the amount that your ex-spouse is receiving.

You must consult with the social security office, because the receipt of benefits is not automatic. There are a lot of requirements and you can find out more by contacting your social security office or reading “What Every Woman Should Know.” Although this talks about women, the same information is relevant to men.


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