Q & A
I’m divorced and heard rumors about EX-spouse Social Security benefits. Is that really a possibility?
Complete Question: I’m 62 years-old and divorced. I was hoping to get spousal benefits, but I figured there was no way once I got divorced. Now I hear people say that I can still collect on my ex-spouse’s record. Is that really an option?
Answer: Actually, yes, that is an option. Of course, just like any other Social Security benefit, there are certain requirements that must be met first in order for you to be eligible. You obviously have the age requirement covered, since you have to be 62 to file. Just remember that the maximum spousal (or ex-spousal) benefit is only 50% of the beneficiary’s primary insurance amount (PIA), which is his benefit at full retirement age (FRA). Then you will receive an even greater reduction for filing before your FRA.
The other requirements have to do with your marriage status, both now and previously. In order to file for benefits on his record, you would have had to been married to him for a minimum of 10 years, and been divorced for a minimum of 2 years. In addition, you have to currently be single. So if you get re-married, your ex-spousal benefits stop. But don’t let that discourage you from getting re-married! The good news is that you only have to be married for 1 year to your new spouse to receive benefits on his record.
One other thing you should know – if you happen to have more than one ex-spouse that meet the above qualifications, you can elect to receive ex-spousal benefits from either one of your ex-husbands (but not both at the same time). You can also switch to a different ex-spouse if for some reason it benefits you to do so.