Do an ex-spouse’s earnings make you eligible for Social Security?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2023 | Divorce | 0 comments

Many people in Tennessee who enter into marriages wind up changing key parts of their lifestyles for the betterment of their families. If you were among those who stopped working for a period to raise a family or run a household and then your marriage ended in divorce, you may not qualify for the same amount of Social Security retirement pay as your former partner.

However, CNBC reports that about 30% of Americans are unaware that they may qualify for Social Security retirement benefits based on a former spouse’s work history, rather than their own.

Figuring out if you are eligible

Remarrying after your divorce disqualifies you from collecting Social Security retirement benefits using your first spouse’s work history. Also, your marriage to someone who qualified for Social Security based on his or her own work record must have lasted 10 years or longer for you to take advantage of this benefit.

Figuring out what makes the most financial sense

If you also spent time working in a position that paid into Social Security, you may also qualify for benefits based on your own history. If you were to collect these benefits using your ex’s earnings record, you could get half of the monthly amount he or she does at most. How much you would collect on your own accord depends on your lifetime earnings in a Social Security-covered position.

Whatever you decide to do, know that your decision is not going to have a big impact on your former spouse. In fact, even if you collect these benefits using his or her earnings history, this does not lessen the amount your ex is going to receive.