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

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2022 | Blog, Property Division |

When you feel your Texas marriage coming to an end, you may wish to pull the trigger quickly so that you might be able to start adjusting to life on your own. However, if your marriage is nearing the 10-year mark, it may benefit you to hang on a bit longer. When it comes to Social Security retirement benefits, there is a major perk associated with remaining in a marriage for at least 10 years.

According to CNBC, if your marriage does hit that 10-year mark and your spouse qualifies for Social Security retirement benefits, you also qualify for something called a spousal benefit if you do decide to divorce later.

How it works

Whether you or your ex is eligible for these benefits at all depends on how much time you spent working in a Social Security-covered position. Then, how much time you devoted to that job helps determine how much you might take home in monthly benefits. If your ex qualifies for these benefits based on earnings history and you do not, or you do, but would only be able to collect a small amount, you may want to collect them based on his or her work record as opposed to yours.

How much you might get

When you collect a spousal benefit, you become eligible to collect up to 50% of the amount your former spouse gets in Social Security retirement benefits every month. This does not mean your ex is going to collect less money, though. In fact, your decision to collect them under his or her name does not lower the amount your ex gets in monthly benefit checks.

Research shows that an estimated 30% of people have no idea they might be able to get these benefits using the earnings histories of their former husbands or wives.


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