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When do you qualify for an ex-spouse’s Social Security?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2023 | Family Law |

When you split from your spouse in North Dakota later on in life, you may have different goals and objectives than younger individuals who are navigating divorces. Many older adults working through divorces have particular concerns about maximizing their retirement income and with good reason. Your retirement financial picture likely looks a whole lot different after a divorce than it did while you were still in a marriage.

However, CNBC reports that an estimated 30% of Americans have no idea that they may be able to collect Social Security retirement benefits using the work histories of their ex-spouses, rather than their own work histories.

Qualifying for an ex-spouse’s benefits

Whether anyone qualifies for Social Security retirement benefits depends on how much time they devoted to a job that paid into the nation’s Social Security system. If your ex-husband or ex-wife has a sufficient work history that makes him or her eligible for these benefits, you, too, become eligible for them after a split as long as your marriage lasted at least 10 years.

Figuring out how to maximize Social Security benefits

If you also qualify for Social Security based on your own earnings record, you may need to do some computations to see whether it makes more financial sense to collect these benefits under your own name or your ex-spouse’s. If you do so through your ex-spouse’s work record, you may collect, at most, half of the monthly benefit your former partner gets.

The amount your ex gets in his or her monthly check remains unchanged even if you decide to collect Social Security retirement benefits based on your former partner’s work history.