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Can you get Social Security based on an ex-spouse’s earnings?

When you and your Florida husband or wife decide to part ways, many aspects of your future may look different. Retirement is one such example. Many people navigating divorce do not realize that they may be able to collect Social Security retirement benefits because of their former partners’ contributions to Social Security.

According to CNBC, 30% of Americans are unaware that they may be eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits using an ex-spouse’s work record. However, how long your marriage lasted is a determining factor in whether you have the ability to do so.

Who qualifies for an ex’s Social Security retirement benefits

If your marriage to someone who is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits lasted at least 10 years, then you may collect these benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings history. Should you do so, your decision does not lower the amount your ex-husband or ex-wife gets in his or her monthly check.

How much qualifying former spouses receive

The maximum amount you might collect if you decide to take Social Security retirement benefits using your former husband or wife’s work history is 50% of what your ex receives per month. Thus, if you also qualify for Social Security retirement benefits on your own accord, it makes sense to do the math to determine whether it makes more sense to get them using your own work history or that of your one-time partner.

You may continue to claim these benefits based on a living ex-spouse’s earnings record even if your ex remarries. However, if you remarry, this benefit typically ends.