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How can I find out if a former spouse is collecting Social Security benefits on my record? 

You ask the Social Security Administration. It can tell you the name of any “auxiliary beneficiary,” including an ex-husband or ex-wife who is drawing or has drawn benefits on your earnings record. Social Security can also disclose: 

  • The date the person became entitled to benefits on your record.
  • The benefit amount he or she is entitled to collect.
  • Whether the benefits have ended.

Social Security can only discuss a benefit claim that is active or has been terminated. It cannot tell you if your ex-spouse has filed for benefits on your record and is awaiting a decision. It will also not reveal:

  • Your former spouse’s current address.
  • The actual monthly payment to your ex-spouse, which may differ from the benefit amount because of deductions like Medicare premiums or withholding related to work earnings.
  • Any payment of retroactive benefits.
  • The name of any representative payee managing your ex-spouse’s benefits.

Keep in mind

  • A former spouse collecting benefits on your record has no impact on the amount of your own retirement benefit. That’s based entirely on what you’ve earned and when you filed for Social Security.
  • Ex-spousal benefits also do not affect any benefits your current spouse and children are collecting on your record, and they don’t count against your maximum family benefit.

Published October 10, 2018

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