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Spousal Social Security Benefits

If you are divorced, you may still be entitled to spousal Social Security benefits.  If you remained unmarried, and your prior marriage lasted at least ten years, you can claim benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work history.  You must be 62 years old or older, and your former spouse must be entitled to either retirement or disability benefits from Social Security.

If your ex-spouse is old enough to receive benefits but hasn’t applied for them yet, you can still get spousal benefits as long as you’ve been divorced for at least two years.

Claiming your benefits as early as possible can reduce your benefit amount to as little as 32.5% of your spouse’s full benefit.  If, on the other hand, you wait until full retirement age to claim your spousal benefits, you’ll get up to 50% of your spouse’s full benefit.

Spousal benefits do not require you to have social security credits.  You only need a spouse who has accrued at least forty credits.

When you apply for spousal benefits, Social Security will automatically check to see if your spousal benefits will be greater than your own benefits.  If your spouse has not yet applied for benefits, you’ll need to apply for spousal benefits specifically to receive them.