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Collecting Social Security using an ex-spouse’s work record

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Alimony, blog

Many older Virginia residents working their way through divorces have valid concerns about having enough saved for retirement. Divorce often has a substantial impact on your retirement savings and financial future. If your spouse was the primary breadwinner in your marriage, you may question your ability to support yourself during the retirement stage of life.

However, CNBC notes that you may, depending on certain variables, have the option of collecting Social Security retirement benefits based on a former spouse’s earnings history, rather than your own.

Who is eligible to do so

Whether you or anyone else is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits on your own accord depends on how many work credits you amassed while working in a professional role that paid into the nation’s Social Security system. If your spouse qualifies but you do not, you may collect them using his or her earnings record after a divorce as long as your marriage lasted at least 10 years.

When it makes sense to do so

You may also qualify for these benefits based on your own personal work history. If you do, it might serve you well to do some computations and figure out whether it makes more financial sense to use your own work history or your former spouse’s to collect these benefits. Should you decide to use your ex’s work record, the most you have entitlement to is half the amount your ex gets each month.

If you do collect Social Security using your former spouse’s earnings history, note that remarrying someone else puts a stop to these payments.


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