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Can an Ex-Spouse Claim Social Security Benefits?

 Posted on February 19, 2019 in Asset Division

Naperville asset division divorce lawyerToday, nearly three million ex-spouses within the United States earn Social Security benefits from their former spouse's work records. If you or your ex have Social Security benefits and are officially divorced, you may want to know what rights you have under the law. Additionally, if you are considering divorce, you will want to understand what your spouse is likely to claim in the future. This information can directly impact the divorce judgment with regards to property division and support claims. Consider the following regulations:

Length of Marriage

According to the United States Social Security Administration, if you are divorced, but your marriage lasted at least ten years, an ex-spouse can receive benefits from another spouse’s record. An ex-spouse is still eligible even if the benefiting spouse has remarried. However, if the non-benefitting ex remarried, they can no longer make a claim, unless their new marriage ends, either by death, divorce, or annulment.


A divorced spouse has “divorced spouse benefits” equal to one-half of their spouse's retirement or disability benefits. An ex must meet the following qualifications:

  • Unmarried;
  • Aged 62 or older; and
  • The entitled benefit is more than the profit earned from his or her own work.

One or Two Benefits

When were you born? If you were born before January 2, 1954, and are currently at full retirement age, you can choose to claim the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay your own retirement benefit until later. If you were born on or after that date, you could only receive one benefit. Therefore, all retirement and spousal benefits are applied for at the same time.

Other Information

Even if the benefiting spouse did not apply for benefits, the entitled ex could still receive the benefits on record as long as they have been divorced for at least two years. Additionally, if the entitled ex qualifies for benefits in addition to the divorced spouse’s benefits, his or her own earned retirement is paid first. If the divorced spouse’s benefit is higher, the benefiting spouse will be entitled to the difference between the two benefits, in addition to his or her own retirement benefit, for a total equalling the higher amount.

Ask a Wheaton Asset Division Lawyer

There are many aspects to consider during the divorce process. Unfortunately, many exes forget about entitlements to retirement and disability benefits until it is too late. It is essential to have a DuPage County property division attorney on your side looking out for your current and future interests. Find out how Goostree Law Group can help. Call us today at 630-364-4046 to schedule your free initial consult.





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