Am I entitled to receive Social Security benefits from my spouse after divorce?

As part of their post-divorce financial planning, clients often ask whether they can receive a portion of their spouse’s Social Security payments.

Answer:  Yes, if you meet the requirements. 

The best part is that it doesn’t impact your spouse’s Social Security in any way.

Keep in mind that you can’t get your spouse’s Social Security in addition to your own, so this benefit was really designed to ensure that homemakers have another source of funds in retirement because it will only benefit you if your spouse’s Social Security payments would be higher than your own.

In order to qualify to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record:

  • you must be divorced;
  • your marriage must have lasted 10 years or longer;
  • you must have not remarried;
  • you must be at least 62 years old;
  • your ex-spouse must be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; and
  • Your own Social Security benefit would be lower than the one your spouse is entitled to receive.  A spouse that meets these qualifications can receive up to 50% of their former spouse’s full retirement rate.  Claiming a ex-spouse’s rate prevents you from claiming your own rate, which is why you should elect to claim the higher rate.  For more information on what elections you should make in order to maximize your Social Security benefits visit the Social Security website here.


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GHR Response to COVID-19

In accordance with governmental guidelines and in deference to the health and safety of our clients, our team and our larger community, our attorneys and our full staff are now working together remotely to continue to provide seamless legal services. Due to our thorough business continuity planning we have long been prepared for such an event. Please be assured that we have the technological resources which guarantee the quality and continuity of our services without interruption. More importantly, our robust team of lawyers, paralegals and administrative assistants are available to continue to support you.

Perhaps most importantly, Garrett Hemann Robertson P.C. was founded on the belief that beyond the basic expectation of providing legal services at the highest level of the profession, we have a responsibility to care for our community. Now more than ever, our community needs us. We are, therefore, making a financial donation to the Salem Health Foundation to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community can continue to receive care.