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Am I entitled to my ex-spouse's Social Security?

Yes. You can collect spousal benefits on your former wife’s or husband’s earnings record as long as:

  • The marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • You have not remarried.
  • You are at least 62 years of age.
  • Your ex-spouse is at least 62 or is collecting Social Security disability benefits

Your former spouse doesn't have to be collecting his or her Social Security benefits yet for you to claim ex-spousal benefits. However, if this is the case, the divorce must be at least two years old. (There is no such requirement if your ex is already receiving benefits.)

You can file for ex-spousal benefits online (via an application form or your My Social Security account); by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213; or by making an appointment at your local Social Security office. The earliest you can apply is three months before your 62nd birthday.

Keep in mind

  • If you are already receiving retirement benefits on your own work record, you can also claim any ex-spousal benefits you are eligible for, but Social Security will not pay you both combined. You’ll receive whichever amount is higher and no more. 

Published October 10, 2018

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