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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

I was married to my former husband for 10 years. When I turn 62, can I collect an ex-spouse benefit on his Social Security record and then when I turn 66 switch over to my own Social Security and get my full benefits?

En español | If you file for a spouse or ex-spouse benefit prior to your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will automatically also calculate your own retirement benefit and you will receive the greater of the two. So you cannot only file for an ex-spouse benefit at age 62, and then switch to a retirement benefit at a later age. And if you claim at any age prior to full retirement age, whether it is on your own record or the record of a former spouse, you will get reduced benefits. Once you claim early, your benefits will be reduced for life (unless you go back to work and earn more than the annual earnings limit, resulting in a reduction in your benefit until full retirement age). If you wait until your full retirement age to file, you can choose to file for only a spouse benefit and allow your own retirement benefit to continue to grow until age 70. But this can only be done at full retirement age.

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