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Can you collect Social Security using an ex-spouse’s record?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Divorce

When you split from your spouse in Tennessee, you may have concerns about supporting yourself without your partner. You may feel especially worried about this if you are divorcing later in life and are unlikely to return to the workplace. However, if you do not have enough of a work history to collect Social Security retirement benefits on your own accord, you may be able to do so using your former spouse’s work record.

According to CNBC, many people navigating divorce do not realize they might be able to collect Social Security retirement benefits even if they do not have a significant enough work history to warrant them. Whether you are able to do so depends on several key factors.

How to know if you are eligible

Among the factors that determine if you are able to collect Social Security benefits using your ex’s record is whether your ex qualifies for said benefits in the first place. This depends mainly on how much time he or she devoted to working a job covered by Social Security. The next determining factor is the length of your marriage. To collect benefits using your ex-spouse’s record, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. This applies to both heterosexual and same-sex former couples.

How this impacts your former spouse

Your decision to collect benefits using your ex’s work history does not impact the amount he or she is going to receive moving forward. So, this should not be a major point of contention in your split.

If you do decide to collect benefits based on your spouse’s record, you typically have entitlement to half of the amount your spouse receives once he or she reaches full retirement age.