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Are you eligible for an ex’s Social Security when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Family Law |

When you plan to retire in Texas and are in a marriage, you likely plan on having your spouse there to help support you once you no longer bring in employment income. Yet, if your marriage ends in divorce, you may worry about whether your retirement income is going to prove sufficient. You may feel especially fearful about having enough to get by during retirement if your work history is not adequate enough to make you eligible for Social Security retirement benefits on your own accord.

CNBC notes that almost a third of Americans are unaware of the fact that the length of their marriages may qualify them to collect Social Security retirement benefits using the work histories of their ex-spouses.

How to know if you qualify

Several things need to be true for you to get Social Security retirement checks based on your ex-husband or ex-wife’s earnings record. First, your spouse needs to be eligible based on how long he or she worked in a professional role that paid into the nation’s Social Security system. Second, your marriage to the eligible party had to last no less than 10 years for you to qualify for this “spousal benefit.”

How much you might get

There are limits to how much you might collect in Social Security retirement benefits each month. If you are eligible to get them based on your own work history, compute how much you might get each month. When you collect them using a former spouse’s record, the most you might get is half of the monthly amount your one-time husband or wife takes home.

If you do decide to use your ex’s work record to collect Social Security, know that these benefits end if you marry someone else.