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Using an ex-spouse’s work history to obtain Social Security

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Divorce |

Many older adults living in Maryland and across the nation have concerns about having enough saved for retirement, and if you recently went through a divorce, you may feel especially worried about this stage of life. It is common for your retirement savings to take a serious hit when you divorce, but in some cases, you may have the option of collecting Social Security retirement benefits based on the earnings history of your former spouse, rather than your own work record.

According to CNBC, the timing of your divorce plays a key role in determining if you are able to collect Social Security retirement benefits using your former partner’s work history.

Assessing eligibility for an ex’s Social Security

You have to reach a certain age before collecting Social Security, and you also have to have a substantial enough work history in a position where you paid into Social Security to qualify. For you to be able to collect these benefits using a former husband or wife’s earnings history, then your marriage to that individual had to have lasted 10 years or more.

Figuring out what option makes financial sense

If you are also eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefits as a result of your own professional past, you may have to do some computations to figure out if it serves you better to use your own earnings record or that of your spouse. When you rely on a spouse’s earnings history, the most you may get is half of what he or she gets in Social Security retirement benefits.

Many people navigating divorce are unaware that collecting Social Security using a former partner’s work history may be an option.