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Can I claim my ex’s Social Security after divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 18, 2021 | Family Law |

Planning for the later years in life often involves creating multiple forms of retirement income. However, divorce can disrupt even the most carefully laid plans. From your retirement savings account to things like Social Security benefits, divorce may have you rethinking how to financially support yourself during retirement.

Social Security benefits can be especially confusing after divorce. If you were counting on benefits based on your ex’s work history, you might not be sure how to replace that source of retirement income. The good news is that you could still qualify for those benefits.

Qualifying for benefits

Social Security benefits are based on work history. If you took time off work to raise children, care for family members or simply support your spouse’s career, then you will not have much work history to draw on. You can still draw benefits based on your ex’s work history after a divorce if you:

  • Were married for a period of at least 10 years
  • Have been divorced for two or more years
  • Are still unmarried
  • Are at least 62 years of age

There is another requirement you need to keep an eye out for though. The benefits that you can draw based on your work record have to be less than your former spouse’s. If not, your benefits will be based on your own work history rather than your ex’s.

What if my ex is deceased?

You might be concerned that you will no longer be able to access benefits from your ex-spouse’s work history if he or she is deceased. You could still qualify for survivor’s benefits though. While the requirements for survivor’s benefits after a divorce are a little different, there is some overlap.

For example, just like with Social Security retirement benefits, you will need to have been married for at least 10 years to qualify for survivor’s benefits. However, you can start drawing these benefits at age 60, or potentially at 50 if you suffer from a disability. Depending on the situation, you may even be able to file for survivor’s benefits if you remarried.

When can I file for benefits?

You do not have to wait for your former spouse to start drawing Social Security retirement benefits. So long as you have reached retirement age and at least two years have passed since the divorce, you can file. Drawing benefits will not decrease his or her benefits either.

Finding financial footing after a divorce can be difficult, especially when you are nearing divorce. You have many options at your disposal, though, from pursuing alimony to understanding when you can file for Social Security benefits after divorce. Those who are not sure how to find a sense of financial security after divorce often choose to seek out further information about Texas family law.


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