Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Social Security After Divorce: Not All Is Lost

DivorceIt is a common misconception that when you go through a divorce, you will lose Social Security benefits as an ex-spouse.  Given certain conditions, you are entitled to Social security benefits and need not be married to collect.  Provided below are some relevant facts to be aware:

  • You can receive benefits on you ex-spouse’s record even if they are remarried.
  • Your decision to collect on your ex-spouse’s earnings history will have no impact on the size of their benefits.
  • One individual can have multiple ex-spouses collecting on their earnings history, provided they were married to each spouse for at least ten years.

In order to be entitled to spousal benefits, you need to have been married for at least ten years or currently unmarried.  “Like everything else in Social Security, there are complexities involved here . . . There is no divorce decree anywhere that can preclude you from collecting Social Security benefits as an ex-spouse, provided you’ve met the conditions outlined above.”

See John Wasik, Getting Social Security Benefits After Divorce, Forbes, July 21, 2014.


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