A Virginia divorce can upend your financial situation, and it may have a significant impact on your retirement savings. Many people facing similar circumstances wonder if they can claim Social Security benefits based on their former spouse’s work record after a divorce.
While doing so is possible, there are certain criteria you must meet to be able to do so.
The first important factor is the duration of your marriage. To be eligible for Social Security benefits based on your former spouse’s work record, your marriage must have lasted at least ten years. If your marriage lasted less than a decade, you will not be able to claim benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings.
Your current marital status is also a determining factor. To claim benefits based on your former spouse’s record, you must not have remarried. If you did remarry, you cannot claim benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings unless your subsequent marriage ended due to divorce, death or annulment.
Age also plays a role in eligibility. You can start claiming benefits based on your former spouse’s record as early as age 62, but doing so will result in reduced benefits. To receive the maximum amount possible, you must wait until your full retirement age. Your full retirement age depends on your birth year but is typically 67 or 68.
An estimated 30% of Americans do not realize they may be able to claim Social Security using a former spouse’s earnings history. If you do so, the amount you can receive is generally up to 50% of your former spouse’s full retirement benefit.