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Springfield Divorce Attorneys > Blog > Family > Am I Entitled To Social Security Benefits Based On My Former Spouse’s Record?

Am I Entitled To Social Security Benefits Based On My Former Spouse’s Record?


If you are getting or are already divorced and are looking for a few extra dollars each month, your former spouse’s social security benefits may be the answer.  Regardless of whether or not your ex has remarried, there are certain conditions under which you are entitled to benefits based on their work record.

Conditions Necessary to Collect 

Not everyone is entitled to a former spouse’s benefits, and the rules relating to who is eligible are pretty inflexible:

  • You had to have been married for at least 10 years;
  • You have not remarried;
  • Your former spouse is 62 or older;
  • The benefit to which you’re entitled based on your work record is not as much as you would get based on your former spouse’s work record;
  • You are entitled to disability or retirement benefits through Social Security.

Even if your ex hasn’t yet applied for benefits, you are still entitled to receive them based on their record if you’ve been divorced for two or more years.

How it Works 

If you are eligible for some benefits based on your work record, that is paid first, and a former spouse’s benefits are combined with that to total the highest amount for which you are eligible. Depending on your age, there are different rules:

  • For those born prior to January 2, 1954, you can collect on your ex’s benefit and put off collecting your own retirement benefit until later, which will bump up the monthly payments then.
  • Those born after that date lose this option, and may only be able to file for one combined retirement/spousal benefit.

Are You Allowed to Work While Receiving Benefits? 

You may continue working while receiving spousal retirement benefits from Social Security, but there are limits to the amount you can earn. In 2021, the earnings limit is $18,960 for individuals who have not reached full retirement age. For earnings above that amount, a deduction of $1 in benefits occurs for every $2 beyond the limit. The year that you reach  retirement age you are allowed to earn up to $50,520, with deductions of $1 in benefits for every $3 over the limit earned during the months prior to reaching retirement age.  Once you’ve reached full retirement age, your earnings have no impact on your benefit whatsoever.

It’s Complicated! 

Social Security, like every large government bureaucracy, is extremely complex. Instead of trying to maneuver through it on your own, let the experienced Springfield family attorneys at Courtney & Mills, LLC guide you through it.  Divorce can be difficult, but this part of it doesn’t have to be.  Schedule a confidential consultation in our Springfield office today.




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