Social Security Benefits for Divorcees after 10 Years of Marriage

If your marriage lasted more than 10 years prior to your divorce, it is likely that you are eligible for Social Security benefits based on your ex-husband’s record. Here are some factors to consider if you need Social Security benefits as a divorcee:

Length of Marriage

In order to qualify for benefits based on the ex-spouse’s work record, the marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years.

Current Marital Status

You cannot currently be married if you want to claim benefits on your ex-spouse’s record. If you have multiple divorces but are not currently married, you may still be eligible for benefits based on your previous marriage(s).

Age Requirement

You must be at least 62 years old to begin claiming Social Security retirement benefits. Claiming benefits before reaching full retirement age (FRA), which is between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year, reduces benefits.

Ex-Spouse’s Eligibility

You cannot claim on your ex-spouse’s record until the ex-spouse is eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits. They must be at least 62 years old or receiving Social Security benefits themselves.

Benefit Amount

You may be eligible as long as you meet all eligibility requirements. You can receive a maximum of up to 50% of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit amount. The actual amount you receive may be reduced if you claim benefits before your FRA or if you have other sources of income.

No Effect on Ex-Spouse’s Benefits

Your ex-spouse won’t even know that you have claimed. You claiming benefits as a divorced spouse does not reduce the amount of benefits your ex-spouse or their current spouse may receive.

To apply for benefits as a divorced spouse, you need to make an appointment at a Social Security office and provide documentation. This includes, your marriage certificate, divorce decree, and your ex-spouse’s Social Security number.

Have more questions? Contact Us

Missie Beach, CFP®, CDFA®
Senior Financial Advisor

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By Published On: July 5, 2023

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