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Social Security Benefits for a Former Spouse

Q. I was married for 21 years before my divorce. My ex-wife collects a Social Security spousal benefit based on my work record. Will that affect my current wife's ability to collect benefits?

A. No. The benefits to your ex-wife have no bearing on what your current wife may collect. Your current wife cannot file for a spousal benefit unless you are collecting your own benefit. But Social Security rules let your ex at age 62 receive benefits on your record if the divorce is at least two years old and if you are eligible, even if you are not yet collecting benefits yourself.

Source: Social Security Administration

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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