Divorce and Social Security

After a divorce, you can claim retirement benefits based on your own earnings record (if you have been employed and have accumulated enough credits over the years), or you can claim benefits based on your ex-spouse's earnings record (whether or not you ever worked), provided that certain requirements are met.

What requirements must be met?

You may qualify for benefits based on your ex-spouse's earnings record if all of the following conditions are met:

  • Your ex-spouse is currently entitled to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits

  • You and your ex-spouse were married for at least 10 years before the divorce became final

  • You are not currently married

  • You are age 62 or older, and

  • You aren't entitled to collect a retirement or disability benefit based on your own earnings record that equals (or exceeds) one-half of your ex-spouse's PIA

If you are age 62 or older and you've been divorced for at least two years, you can receive Social Security benefits based on your former spouse's earnings regardless of whether that spouse is already receiving benefits. This, of course, is assuming that the other four requirements listed above have been satisfied.

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