Married for More Than Ten Years? You Can Collect Social Security Benefits From Your Ex-Spouse!

TenIf you were married to your ex-spouse for ten or more years, then you are eligible for very important Social Security benefits that could drastically increase how much Social Security you receive each month. Who doesn’t want a bigger Social Security check each month?

No one, that’s right! So keep reading.

Even if you are divorced, you can claim something called derivative benefits based on the earnings history of your ex-husband. Derivative benefits are equal to one half of your ex-husband’s Social Security benefits. So, for example, let’s say that Don receives roughly $3,000 per month in Social Security benefits. His ex-wife, Samantha who was married to Don for 18 years before they divorced in 2010, is eligible to receive $1,500 per month in Social Security benefits ($3,000 / 2 = $1,500) if she waits until full retirement age of 66+ to collect. If she collects between ages 62 and 66, there will be a reduction for taking benefits early.

The amount an individual receives from Social Security is based on their average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years where they earned the most income. In many cases, especially with older generations, a husband’s income will be greater than that of his ex-wife, and he therefore is entitled to a higher amount of Social Security.

After Samantha married Don, she quickly became pregnant. Over the years, she gave birth to three children. Samantha and Don decided that it made more financial sense for Don to work while Samantha stayed home to raise the children. During their prime working years, Don continued to climb the corporate ladder while Samantha earned no income. After her youngest child left for college, Samantha rejoined the workforce as an administrative assistant, but by the time she was planning to retire, her Social Security benefits were only $900 per month. Clearly, $1,500 in derivative benefits is a much better deal for Samantha than the $900 per month she would receive for her own benefits.

Of course, Samantha or any woman could choose to stick with her own full benefits. If, for instance, Samantha hadn’t chosen to stay at home with the children and instead opened her own PR agency and now could receive Social Security benefits of $3,000 a month, there’s no reason for her to take $1,500 a month in derivative benefits.

Your Derivative Benefits Don’t Affect Your Ex-Spouse’s Benefits

Samantha and Don’s divorce was amicable, and Samantha doesn’t want to “take” money away from her ex-husband through derivative benefits. She doesn’t have to worry. Whether or not she takes derivative benefits, Don will still earn his full amount of Social Security. If he remarries, his new wife will also be fully entitled to her derivative benefits regardless of what choice Samantha makes.

If you were married for over ten years, then when it is retirement time, you can ask the Social Security Administration to compute what amount of derivative benefits you are entitled to, so you can collect the maximum to which you are entitled.  You can also visit this great divorce resource from the Social Security Administration or read more in our excellent archive of divorce articles for women.

Comments

  1. can a spouse collect social security benefits if her husband passes away?

    • Yes, a spouse is eligible to receive widow’s benefits when she reaches retirement age.

      • 1) If I were to receive widow’s benefits in my retirement on my ex-husband’s record but he died prior to my collecting benefits I interpret the SS website to read that my benefit would be 100% of the benefit he received instead of 50%…again, only if he is deceased. Did I interpret that correctly?

        • If you are a surviving divorced spouse, then you receive a benefit based on 100% of his earnings record. And yes, he must be dead for you to be a surviving divorced spouse. If he’s still alive, you are simply a divorced spouse and the applicable percentage is 50%.

        • Max Walker says:

          I’m 63 year old. My ex-spouse was 77. I’m a divorce spouse who was married for over 12 years before I divorce my spouse twenty years ago. Because of my illnesses for the last two years I have been on SSi. I just was told my ex-spouse has passed away either in March or April of this year. My two questions are, {1} Will I receive 100% of my ex-spouse’s social security that he has been receiving? {2} When do I have to contact Social Security? FamilyLife@hotmail.com

          • If you are not currently married, you can receive the higher of your SSI, your social security retirement benefits, or the social security retirement benefits that are based on your deceased divorced spouse’s earnings history. If I were you, I’d contact social security as soon as I could to find out what I’ll receive.

      • I’ve been married for 10 years haven’t seen my husband in 3 years am I eligible for his benefits

      • Sharon Allison-Dunklee says:

        Can I still receive this if I remarried?

    • SHELLEY MITCHELL says:

      HELLO…I WAS MARRIED TO MY EX-HUSBAND FOR 13YEARS…SINCE THEN…HE HAS REMARRIED & DIVORCE ALL WITHIN 2-3YEARS TIME PERIOD, WILL I QUALIFY FOR HIS SSI BENEFITS?…IF SO “LET’S SAY MY SSI IS 1000 MONTHLY AND HIS 1700 MONTHLY…SO WILL MY NEW SSI BE 2700 MONTHLY…

      • If you were married to him for 10 years or longer, you can get divorced spouse benefits or your own benefits when you become retirement age, whichever is higher. In your example you would receive your $1000 per month since it is higher than divorced spouse benefits which are the equivalent of half of what he is eligible to receive.

      • Margaret house says:

        I am disable for 17 years and only get 7.69 a month and was married to my x husband for more then 19 years he is still working and make good money how much can I draw off of him

  2. I was married to my first husband for 23 years and then we divorced. I remarried but now my second husband is divorcing me after 11 years of marriage. My first husband is now deceased but he never remarried after we divorced. What, if anything would I be eligible for? I am 57 years old and work full time.

  3. Tim Turney says:

    Question 1) when I decide to take early social security at age 62, will my benefits in any way be reduced because my wife continues working? Question 2) my wife and I entered our 2nd marriage in our late 50’s. She was married for 31 years in her first marriage. Do i understand correctly that she is in no way eligible for spousal SS benefits because when we were married, she was under 60 years of age? Thank you.

    • Your social security benefits are reduced only if you continue working. Her working has nothing to do with your benefits. When she retires, she will be entitled to her own benefits or spousal benefits based on your earnings record, and not based on her former spouse’s record.

  4. I recently went on SS at age 66 after collecting SS disability for 12 years and my check is pitiful. Will it increase when my 62 year old husband retires?

  5. First and second marriage were both to the same person. Do I add up the total of years we were married?

  6. kathleen dixon says:

    I was married for 25 years and divorced. He got remarried and I got remarried. At retirement time can I claim derivative benefits if hi earnings was greater than mine?

    • If you are married, then you will receive your own benefits or spousal benefits based on your current spouse’s earnings history, whichever is greater.

      • Ginita,
        I wanted to ask you ~ I am now 69 years old and my x-husband who I was married to for 28 years but divorced 24 years ago and he is now 76 and receives $2,500.00 a month. I got Social Security at 62 and I was wondering if I am entitled to 1/2 of his Social Security right now?… I just can’t seem to find a question like my situation……

        • Yes, you should be collecting the highest benefit to which you are entitled, based on your own earnings history or your former spouse’s earnings history, whichever is higher. Normally the social security office calculates this automatically, but contact them to make sure that they have looked at both records to make the determination of the highest amount when paying you.

  7. I was married for 13 years. My ex retired from his US Postal service job. I raised our three children solo and did not receive any of his retirement benefits in our divorce decree. I’m not sure if he collects social security benefits or a civil service pension or both. Do I qualify for social security spousal benefits? If he collects a civil service pension, would the SS benefits be a reduced amount? How can I find out if he collects SS and if I qualify to draw on his benefits? I’m confused…

    • When you reach retirement age and are ready to begin collecting benefits, be sure to let social security know of your prior marriage, and they will pay you the greatest amount to which you are entitled, your own benefits or your divorced spouse benefits.

      • Thank you for your reply – I VERY much appreciate it! Will there be any SS benefits for my ex if he paid into a civil service pension rather than social security?

        • If he never paid into the social security system, then he won’t be eligible for social security benefits.

          • So then I also will not be eligible for Social Security through his employment?

          • You can only derive payments from his social security earnings record if he had social security earnings, which it appears he didn’t.

          • What if ex worked for 10 years in private sec and paid in to ssi before taking USPS job that they eventually retired from… Having been previously married 10+ years when he was paying into ssi(before his post office career), am I entitled, as his ex, to a portion of any ssi he receives at retirement or death? Will it be added to the ssdi I currently receive?

          • When you both are of retirement age 62 or older, you can collect your own benefits or divorced spouse benefits, whichever is higher. It is likely that your SSDI exceeds what you would be entitled to collect in retirement benefits, but you can ask Social Security to be sure.

  8. I was married 13 years and thinking of going on ssid or ssi i am divorced my ex husband did not work during those years you are only entitled to spouses benefits during marriage not after its confusing

    • SSDI and SSI are disability income, determined on your needs and your earnings while working. Social Security retirement is a retirement benefit that is payable when you are of retirement age, and is determined based on your own earnings while working or those earnings of your spouse or your divorced spouse, if you were married for 10 years or longer. If you receive SSDI now, that will convert over to social security retirement when you reach full retirement age.

      • I was born with Spina Bifida and because of health issues my years of working were very limited. I have received disability income and SSI for the last 5 years. I was married for 10 years and then divorced in 1992. My ex husband is now 69 years old and I just turned 66. He remarried and is still married. I remarried but divorced from that marriage in 2008 after only being married for 4 years. My question is can I qualify to receive half of my ex spouse’s Social Security benefits that I was married to for 10 years now that I reached 66?

        • It is my understanding that you can collect Social Security disability benefits or your own retirement benefits or divorced spouse benefits, whichever is greater. Ask Social Security how they are computing what they pay to you.

          • Do I call Social Security first to see which is higher in my case? I read online I will need a copy of my Marriage Certificate and Divorce papers when scheduling an appointment with Social Security to see about divorced spouse benefits. My question is where do I call to get these items when I was married in West Virginia and divorced in Virginia?

          • I’ve been trying to find out I’m almost ready for my hearing for disability so I’m trying to figure out if I don’t have enough work credits in but my ex husband that I was married to for 17 yrs has enough work credits An is still working , if I get a decision In my favor would I collect from his ? Sorry hope that makes sense

          • I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to your question. Social security would have the answer for you.

    • So if my spouse did not work while we were married i am not entitled to his earnings if he is working now i can only get my earnings

      • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

        You are entitled to social security retirement benefits based on your entire earnings history or divorced spouse benefits based on your husband’s entire earnings history.

  9. I was married to my first husband for 25 years. I remarried but after 5 years we are divorcing. My first husband passed away 2 years ago. He was collecting Ssdi when he passed. I will be 61 soon. Who would I collect from?

    • Once you are divorced, you can collect your own benefit or surviving divorced spouse benefits based on Husband #1.

    • Thankyou Ginita for your response. To follow up, am I better to collect at 62 or 66 from my deceased ex husband? Is there much of a difference? I remarried at 55, but as I stated earlier I will be divorcing after 5 years. Thankyou again for the information.

  10. I was married 11 years then got an amical divorce. If my x dies how much of his S/S am I entitled to?

    • As surviving divorced spouse, you are entitled to 50% of the benefit he would have been entitled to if you wait until you are 66+ (less if you take benefits early), as long as those benefits exceed the benefits based on your own record. If your own benefits are greater you would get those.

  11. Michele says:

    As a divorced woman of a 12 yr marriage I was a stay at home mom and collected alimony for the past 20 yrs or so.. which I no longer collect. I work part time now but do not have any pension. Am I then entitled to 100 % of my ex spouses social security amount instead of 50 % of the amount?

  12. Avis Anonyuo says:

    Married for over 10 years can my x receive my social security if we are both remarried

    • Hecan collect divorced spouse social security benefits if you were married for 10 years or longer, are both of retirement age, he has not remarried,and that benefit would exceed his own benefit.

  13. I am 54 and disabled I get SSI right now,can I get my ex husbands social security instead? We were married in August of 1990 and Divorced in April of 2002.

  14. I was married for 17 yrs been divorce I will be 63 in January never remarried can I take my xspouse SS he is 71 yrs old I was born January 19 th 1955 I’ve been divorce since 1992

  15. If you work for LA County and have a pension which have the WEP and GOP and you don’t have enough credits for social security benefits and you were married for at least 10 years are you entitled to you x-husbands social security benefits.

    • You are receiving a government pension, so 2/3 of your pension payments reduce what you are entitled to in divorced spouse social security benefits. That is called the Government Pension Offset (GPO).

  16. Madeline Osborn says:

    I was married for 11 years from 1969 to 1981. We divorced and I remarried and have been married to my current husband for 36 years. I just applied for SS benefits for myself. Am I also entitled to SS benefits from my first husband?

    • Right now it sounds as though you are entitled only to your own benefits. When your husband retires, you can receive spousal benefits if those exceed your own benefits. Since you have remarried, you are not eligible for benefits based on your first husband’s earnings history.

  17. I was married for 20 years to my first husband. I got remarried and have been married for 18 years to my 2nd husband, my first husband made more money than my 2nd. My first husband died never remarried so can I get his social security

    • You are not eligible to receive surviving divorced spouse benefits based on your deceased first husband’s earnings history since you are currently married to another person. When you are of retirement age, you are entitled to collect spousal benefits based on his earnings record.

  18. Rhonda dunn says:

    I am disabled now .so is my d ex husband we were married for 13 years they say to draw off his social security I have to be 62.is this true

    • Since you are disabled you may be able to get reduced benefits earlier. But if you are getting disability benefits, and they are higher that what you’d get in retirement benefits, you’ll probably want to stick with the disability benefits until you are of full retirement age. Talk to the Social Security Administration people to see what’s the best thing for you to do.

  19. sabrina says:

    I am a retired FERS employee age 60 and have been married 20 years to my spouse who makes twice my working income. Question is – can I draw SS off my spouse when I reach age 62? My husband will collect the highest SS amount allowed – due to his income. I have to collect SS either way at age 62. Please advise. I worked 38 years in 2 jobs and paid into SS that entire time.

    • Yes, once he retires and begins receiving social security benefits. Until then, you can collect based on your own social security history. If you are receiving a pension based on employment where you did not pay into the social security system, then 2/3 of your pension will offset the social security you receive based on your spouse’s earnings history. But if your employment was covered by social security, then that Government Pension Offset rule doesn’t apply to you.

  20. Brenda Slanga says:

    I was married to my first husband over 10 years.. We both remarried.. My 2nd husband died and have been collecting Widows benefits.. I am going to be 64 in October.. Am I able to choose which Social to take..
    My first husband’s? as he made a lot more money ? Am I entitled to anything that my 1st husband made?

    • You are entitled to receive the highest of divorced spouse benefits based on the earnings history of Husband #1, widow benefits based on Husband #2, or your own benefits. Since you are already receiving benefits, I imagine that Social Security has calculated widow’s benefits of 100% of what your deceased husband would have received is higher than divorced spouse benefits, which are just 50% of what he would be entitled to. You can contact them to see.

  21. Married 2 years to a physical abuser and the police helped me and my child escape for our lives…I can’t remember his social security number. Can I get any benefits? He was a Contractor Worker?

  22. I havnt been able to work since 2003..due to work injury..and now all kinds of medical issues..i was married 13 yrs to one and only marriage..im 58…my ex spouse got his ssdi over 2 yrs ago at 46..i fild for disabilty in 2003…went to apeals and hearings…have a hearing coming up soon..can i get ssdi on his ssdi..and or use his credits due to he made more money than me

  23. My 2nd husband and I have been married 17 yrs. his ex wife remarried but divorced within 7 yrs. if my husband passed away will I get his social security beings mine is soo small or can his first wife claim any of it even tho she remarried and divorced under 10 yrs?

    • If your husband dies, you will be able to get social security retirement widow benefits. Don’t concern yourself with whether his former wife will get anything — it doesn’t affect what you will get.

  24. I was married to my 1st husband for 14 years when he died. I remarried and my 2nd husband just passed after 17 years. Would I be able to collect my 1st husbands social security if it was the larger amount?

  25. I’m turning 62 in September. I was married to my 2nd husband for 11 1/2 years, we were divorced and he passed away in 2004. I’m still working a full time job, which I plan on doing for a while yet. Am I eligible to collect his SS when I turn 62 even though I am still working? I never remarried. Thank you.

  26. I am divorced was married for 13 years . I became disabled 10 years ago from a pit bull attack tore both arms off I draw disability but not much can I get the devrivative benefit from my x social security and at what age I am 63 now

  27. Heather Rob says:

    If I was married for just over 6 years, and my spouse died, am I able to collect any portion of his social security if I do not remarry?

  28. I was married for 16 years got divorced. He was union electrician SS say they have nothing on him. He says he gets SS but wont give the SS Number what can I do. I have marriage and divorce Papers. HELP

  29. I was married 18 years – I never remarried, but he did. Can I collect on his SS at age 64.
    N

  30. I was married for 23 years and I divorced him. . He remarried again but not me. He is two years younger than me . I am 61 he is 59. He’s been younger than me , does it affect when I can collect my SS benefits. If he dies can I collect widows benefits since he remarried?

    • You cannot collect social security benefit until you are both 62 or older. You cannot collect widow benefits since he is still alive and you are not married to him. When he dies, you can collect surviving divorced spouse benefits even though he is married.

  31. Tina Marbley says:

    my husband has been deceased for 10 years we were still married would I be able to collect his SSI after 10 years of being deceased

    • SSI is an income supplement to enable low income people to live. You cannot collect his. When you reach age 60 or older, you can collect reduced Social Security retirement widow’s benefits based on his earnings history, if that provides a greater benefit than your own benefit. To receive full benefits you must wait until full retirement age 66.

  32. I was married for a bit over ten years. My husband and I were divorced at that time. He has since passed away. I never remarried nor did he. Will I be eligible for widows benefits at age 60 even if im still working>

  33. I am 55 and on permanent disability benefits they are very low about $600 a month I was married from 1984 – 2000 would I be eligible for any income from ex husband benefits? I have not remarried

  34. Teresa m young says:

    I was married to my first husband over 10 years we divorced I got married again was married over 10 years to the second one we are divorced now they both are drawing their disability retirement I am age 60 drawing SSI disability cannot work I’m totally disabled would I be title to draw off my first husband or do you go by which is greater thank you so much

  35. I was married 23 years. I have been divorced 12 years. I did not work during my marriage, mainly because I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis in 1990. I recently was awarded SSD, but my amount is only $182 a month. My ex spouse’s award will be $3000. He is 3 years younger than me and I will be 59 next month. Can I get spousal benefits now because I am disabled? I was disabled through most of my marriage, but did not understand I could file for disability. My husband made a very good income, so I never had to worry. Now, I live in poverty and I am barely surviving. Thank you! ?

  36. Hi and thank you all so much,
    I was married 18 years. We made the choice to have me take my Social Security benefit at age 62, early. I took a pretty big hit. He encouraged this choice saying he would delay till 70.5 and receive a higher benefit for ‘us’.
    Now there is no us and I am left with a loss. Can I take the difference his retirement at 70 or now?
    He was born in 1951 and is 66 now and I am 65.
    I was also hoping I could suspend my benefits now? Due to the divorce?
    I have been on the net for 3 hours researching all this. I can not find the answer on the Social Security website.
    thanks so much again.
    Alone in Seattle

  37. Nancy Rogers says:

    I am 53 years old and disabled. I am divorced from my husband of 20 years. I was a stay at home housewife so I don’t have enough work credits to claim disability on my own. Can I claim disability off my ex-husband’s work credits? How does that work?

  38. Judy I Hebert says:

    Im 59 and on ssdi my ex husband of 17yrs is 66 and on ss am i able to collect from his benefits now

  39. Sheila Williams says:

    I’ve been married for 33yrs to my husband and he cheated on me with a young girl had a son he’s now 7yrs old and I tried to make our marriage work for 7yrs and he travel back and forth from new York to Myrtle Beach SC maybe 6 times out of the year and never moved here at all so my question is can I collect SS benefits from him now or if he passed away or if we divorce will I still be able to get his SS benefits

    • You are eligible for spousal benefits when you are both of retirement age and he begins collecting benefits. If you divorce, you are eligible for divorced spouse benefits once you are both of retirement age. If he dies, you are eligible for widow benefits (if still married when he dies) or surviving divorced spouse benefits (if divorced when he dies) once you are age 60 or older.

  40. I collect ssd since 2008 I am now 53 divorced from husband 10 years we had 3 children all grown he passed away 2 yrs ago and was also on ssd am I able to receive anything

  41. I was married to my ex husband for 11 years and he is collecting disability benefits he is 57 and I am 55. My question is am I entitled when I reach retirement age will I be able to draw from his retirement? I have not remarried .

    • If you were awarded a portion of his retirement in your divorce, be sure that you have put a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in place so you can receive your share when he retires (or the earliest date at which he could retire). If the divorce agreement did not address the retirement, then see an attorney about opening up your case to divide the pension.

  42. Cindy Henry says:

    I was married for 12 yrs and now divorced. My x is 18 months younger. Can i sign for my SS# at 62 then switch to his when he turns 62. I guess just need to know the best way to do it.

  43. Cindy Henry says:

    My x husband is younger by 18 months can I draw of of mine and then his.?

    • When you apply for social security benefits, you will get paid the greatest benefit to which you are entitled. It may indeed work out just the way that you outline, depending on how old you are when you begin to collect.

  44. I’ve been married for 18 years and wanting a divorce and plan on getting remarried will i still qualify for benefits from ex husband income once he passes away? He is very sick and he’s 48 and his doctor told him he will be lucky to live past 50 due to his illness. I’m also ssa. How does that work? I’m hope he lives longer because we have 2 underage children so I’m in hurry that to happen but im just wanting to know .

    • No, you won’t qualify for social security benefits from your ex if you remarry, you will qualify for social security benefits from your new spouse’s earnings history once you are of retirement age, if those benefits exceed your own.

  45. Maryann antonetti says:

    My husband just passed away in july we were together 19 years he was receiving benefits because he was disabled question is can my husband ex-wife collect his benefits before me because they were together 7 years she never remarried but we did ssi told me i have to wait to I’m 62 but i wanted to know if she can collect his benefits since she was his first wife and older than him

  46. I was married for 31 yrs and divorced 10 yrs ago. Neither of us remarried. I am now 62 and my ex is 66. He retired this month and says his benefits are $1700. If I retire now mine will be greatly reduced at $600. Can I receive any of my ex’s benefits now or will I have to wait until full retirement age?

    • When you apply for social security benefits, they will pay you the greatest benefit for which you qualify, your own benefit or the divorced spouse benefit, whichever is greater. Whatever benefit you get will be reduced if you begin receiving benefits before full retirement age of 66+/

  47. I am 56, and going through a divorce. My wife is only 45 but has much greater benefits accrued. In order for me to claim 50% of her rate, do I have to wait until she reaches 62, which will put me at73

  48. Debby Bellow says:

    Divorced after 42 yrs. 62 yrs old. Quit my business to take care of elderly mom. I have no income. Can I collect ex husbands ssi?

    • Since you are 62, you can collect the greater of (1) reduced benefits based on your earnings history, or (2) if your former spouse is 62 or older, you can collect reduced divorced spouse benefits based on his earnings history.

  49. My ex husband will be turning 60 I am 70 retired at 62. He is on SS disability.we were married 11 years I don’t get much SS. Can I collect off him.

  50. leigh swanson says:

    my husband died last yr he was married for 6 months on his first marriage im retired can i collect his ss benefits if i made more than he did im 54

  51. If I am 62 and collecting SS as a divorced spouse and my x-husband starting collecting before his full retirement age, is my benefit based on what he is collecting or what he would have collected had he waited until full retirement age? And if I collect only my x-spouse benefit at age 62, can I then switch to collect my full benefit amount at my full retirement rate? (born in 1959)

    • Your benefit is based on his earnings record. If you begin collecting before age 62, your benefits will be forever reduced because you didn’t wait until full retirement age. When you begin collecting benefits, they will pay you the highest benefit to which you are entitled, your own or divorced spouse benefit. You don’t get to decide which record to collect on.

  52. I am on ssdi for the last 2 years. I was married for 20 years to my spouse and we were divorced in 2015. He recently died. Am I able to continue collecting my SSDI and how long do I have to wait now since he has died? Will I loose my SSDI or will I get both my SSDI and his SS now since he has died. I am only 50 years old. He was not at retirement age when he died. Neither of us remarried. Please help explain this to me.

    • Talk to social security to see if you qualify to start receiving widow retirement benefits, and if they would exceed your disability benefits. There is a special rule that might allow you to begin collecting reduced retirement benefits on his record at age 50. You don’t get both, it’s either/or

  53. My ex husband and I were married for 23 years and I am 46 years old. We have 4 children together. He unexpectedly passed away 3 years ago, shortly after we divorced. He was the one who always worked, while I stayed home to care for our children.

    Can I receive SS benefits even though I am 46? I did receive “survivors benefits” for a period, until my youngest child turned 16 and she will continue receiving “dependent benefits” until 18.

    What are my options, if any?

    • Once you are of retirement age (reduced benefits at age 60 or full benefits at age 66-ish), you can begin receiving surviving divorced spouse benefits. Unless you have other children under the age of 16, you won’t receive benefits now.

  54. If I am 14 years older then my husband and he is still working, married 33 years this year, but I think we are getting divorced, Should I get a lawyer for alimony or can I get half of his social sec. Or does he have to be retired. I am unable to work, I had my own business for 20 years but did not have a good accountant and I only get 300 a month. What can I do other than getting a lawyer? Should I call social security?

    • Talk to an attorney about how alimony works under the laws of your state.
      Once your former spouse is of retirement age (62 or older) then you can receive divorced spouse benefits if they exceed your own benefits. Until then, you can get your own benefits — reduced benefits at age 62, full benefits at 66+. Apply for social security about three months before you want to begin collecting.

  55. I have been separated from my husband since February 16, 2010 and as of 2016 I was put on disability and I’m not 62 how can I go about collecting from my husband since we were never divorced nor was there a legal separation ever done and we both reside in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  56. Married legally 31 yrs husband retired from navy disabled live in different states never divorced what benefits am I entitled to.

  57. Angelica Nieves says:

    I was married for 21 years.. I married the second time but divorced after 3 years.. Im 55 years old but receiving SSD and my first ex husband is 68.. Entitled to receive benefits from my him??

  58. My first husband passed away. We were married long enough to have a child, that child is 41 years old. My third husband I am divorced from we were married over 16 years. He’s 2 years 11 months younger than I am I am 60. I have not remarried. I am working at this time. I was told that I could collect derivative benefits since I was married over 10 years to my last husband. But what I’m reading here stays that we both have to be at retirement age. I’m almost wondering if I could collect anything off my first husband but we weren’t married that long. I was told I could collect derivative benefits once I turned 59 and a half. Can you please explain to me what the best course of action is for me in the future. I would like to be able to collect and continue to work. There are a couple people I work with that collect and right now they can only work and earn a certain amount per year but after a specific length of time they can continue to collect Social Security and work as long as they want to and earned whatever they want to. I need help to sort this out. I sure appreciate any help you can be thank you so much.

    • If you begin collecting benefits at your minimum retirement age of 62, your payments will be reduced by around 25% for collecting early, and will be further reduced by 50% of all your earnings over $17,040. So it doesn’t make sense to begin collecting before full retirement age of 66+ if you are still working. It is likely that your own benefits will exceed the divorced spouse benefits you are eligible for on Husband #3 once he is of minimum retirement age. Once you are age 66+ you can collect your benefits and they won’t be reduced.

  59. I’m 57 years old and disabled on SSI was married 12 years. He is 68 on Social Security can I draw off his Social Security NOW?

    • It is possible that you can get divorced spouse retirement benefits instead of SSI, but I’m guessing that your SSI exceeds the retirement benefits that you could receive under his earnings record, which is why they are paying you SSI instead of retirement benefits.

  60. My ex of 24 yrs is drawing his retirement an disability his 57 An I’m 54 An I’m on mental disability he said I could draw off him so can u

  61. If my ex husband dies and he remarried but I did not and we were married 7 yrs am I eligible to a portion of his social security?

  62. I been marry 25 years l am almost 58 years old l dont work.since. 2010 my kids are.25 and 20 if he dies do l get any benefits.now

  63. i see all the info regards a wife getting the ex hubby’s ssi bt what if The wife earned more money & abandoned teh Marriage cannot be located to fidn to serve divorce papers and yoru married over 10 years, because athst exactly My situation My wife earned more incoem over the course of our lives she decided she was gay and ran off with her GF, turned off all forms of communcation and left teh state am I entitled to anything?

    • Once you are of retirement age, you can begin collecting social security. Once she is of retirement age and begins collecting her benefits, you can receive spousal benefits based on her earnings record if those benefits exceed your own benefits. If you are divorced at that time, you do not need to wait for her to actually begin collecting her benefits, as long as she is of retirement age 62 or older.

  64. Currently married for two years with a baby now. Husband is on disability social security.. we are going to divorce and am not sure how much custody he will fight me for. I will be sole provider at some point for our daughter.. is it true that if we divorce, ssi will take money from my paychecks to pay his ssi???? And my daughters ssi will go away as well???

    • I don’t know the answer to that question, since I don’t know the rules for disability. That is a question that Social Security Administration staff could answer for you, so call them to ask that question.

  65. I am 59. I have been been collecting disability benefits since 2010 due to illness . My husband is thinking of an early retirement at 62. He is aware of the lower amount of money he will receive because of retiring early. Will my disability benefits increase or decrease in this case? Or will they be affected at all?

    • If your own retirement benefits or your spousal retirement benefits exceed the disability benefits, you can switch to those once you are of retirement age 62. But if your disability benefits are higher, you will stay on disability benefits. At age 66 you will switch to retirement benefits.

  66. I was with my husband 15 years but married 6 but had 3 children with him! Am I entitled to his ssi ? Regardless of the time we were married?

  67. Tereasa Whitt says:

    I am a 53year old disabled lady. I receive $750 a month. And a medicade medical card. My ex husband passed away. And his widowed wife contacted me about the benefits that I can receive, since we were married almost 11 years. What I would like to know. Would this cause me to lose my medical insurance. Due to that I have many many medical issues.

  68. I’m 50 and collecting disability benefits, I was married for 22yrs. My ex husband is still working and not of retirement age. Am I able to collect off of his social security?

  69. I am 57 and on as I. I have been married for 19 yrs. But will be divorcing this yr. He is 8 yrs younger and not working and hasn’t for about 5 yrs. Can I collect from his as. Or do I have to wait until he collects.

    • I don’t know what you mean by “his as.” If you are talking about social security retirement benefits, you may collect divorced spouse benefits once you are both of retirement age 62 or older, if those benefits exceed your own benefits. If you collect sooner than full retirement age 66+, your benefits will be reduced.

  70. So if I was married 25 years and I am now 51 and divorced . If I stay unmarried and at 66 which is my Full retirement age I will receive 50 percent of my ex SSI Benefits since I don’t qualify because of being a stay home mom. and #2. If he died would I receive 100 percent at age 66 under surviving ex spouse.

    • That is correct. While he is alive you can receive divorced spouse social security retirement benefits based on his earnings history, and if he dies, you can receive surviving divorced spouse benefits.

  71. Chiquita says:

    Im 59 years old.married 1992 and divorced in 2012 for my ex husband. Got married 2015 on my 2 nd husband until present. If i retire will my ex husband can get a portion of my ss pension? If i will divorce my present husband after 2 years, who will get a portion of my pension? Thanks

    • When you are both of retirement age of 62 or older, he can collect benefits based on his own earnings or divorced spouse benefits that are the equivalent of 50% of your benefits, reduced if he begins collecting before full retirement age. If you divorce your current husband, he will not be eligible to collect based on your earnings history since you were not married for 10 years or longer. To be clear, no one ‘will get part of your social security’. You’ll get your own benefits, and they will get their benefits based on the highest amount to which they are entitied.

  72. When I took early retirement at 62 I asked the SS person I was dealing with about ex spouse benefits. He stated to me that at full retirement I would be able to switch over to my ex’s deceased benefits and receive appx twice the amount in benefits and I wouldn’t have to repay or be penalizrd for taking a early retirement.Not really believing him I grilled him up and down about it and he reaffirmed his calculations several times. This colored my decision to take early retirement. Did he giving me the correct advice?

    • Probably. It is my understanding that surviving spouse benefits are not reduced even though you claimed your own benefits before full retirement age. And it sounds as though you were in the special window that allowed you to choose which benefit to take, before the laws changed a few years ago.

  73. I was married for 34 years and then widowed. I am now 63, been remarried for 6 years and my current husband is 57. I was recently told that I may qualify to receive my deceased husbands social security. Is this true?

    • If you and your current husband divorce, then you will be eligible to receive widow benefits based on your previous spouse’s earnings history if those benefits exceed your own. If your current husband dies you will receive widow benefits based on husband 1, husband 2 or your own benefits, whichever is higher.

  74. I was married for 21 years 1987-2008. We had a daughter together in 2005 who is now 12 years old. My Ex husband never remarried and passed way last October of 2017 7 months ago. I did get social security for my minor daughter set up in December 2017 and she receives a monthly check. I am entitled to Ex Spousal benefits if I am 53 years old and never remarried? Also he had a pension from his career job through the PBGC and was drawing monthly on that am I entitled to any of the pension since I have been taking care of our minor child for the last 3 years full time due to his ALS diagnosis? Thank you for the help.

    • If you are taking care of a child who is receiving benefits because of a parent’s death, then you may be able to get benefits as well until she is 16. Contact social security administration to find out more. As for the pension, your divorce agreement should have provided as to what portion of his pension you receive, if any. If his pension was not discussed in the divorce, contact an attorney right away to see about getting your share of an omitted asset.

  75. Mavalyn Campbell says:

    I’ve been married from 2008 October 17th October 17th of 2018 would make it 10 years I’ve been married to my husband I got married in the state of Connecticut but now live in New York City I would love to know what benefits am I entitled to gain from my husband

    • When you are of retirement age (62 or older) and your husband files for social security benefits, you may begin receiving your own benefits or spousal benefits, whichever is higher. Spousal benefits generally are the equivalent of 50% of what your husband is entitled to receive. If you begin your benefits before full retirement age (66+) your benefits will be reduced.

  76. P hartman says:

    I am 63 and divorced from a man I was married to for 11 years. He is 56 years old. If I retire early can I collect social security based on his earnings which is twice what i earns

    • Once you are both of retirement age of 62 or older, your social security retirement benefits will be the greater of your own benefits or divorced spouse benefits (which are the equivalent of 50% of what he would be entitled to based on his earnings record). Until then you can collect based on your own earnings record only. If you begin collecting benefits before age 66, your benefits will be reduced.

  77. Sherrie Francis says:

    I been married for 6 yrs he was previously married for 20 he recently got terminally ill. At time of death can I collect or does she only collect survivor benefits

    • As his widow you will be eligible for widow benefits based on his earnings record. You can take reduced benefits as early as age 60, or wait until full retirement age of 66-67 to get full benefits.

  78. Abby wiley says:

    I’m 47 years old and my husband and I divorced on 2016. He remarried and they just had their one year anniversary. He was killed in an accident last week. My question is, will I be able to draw social security off of him. We were married for 24 yrs.

  79. Bluegal says:

    I was married 16 years, divorced for 3 years. I became disabled last year and I heard ex-hubs was disabled too last year, heart attack and stroke. I think his is collecting SSDI, but he is not retired, he is 51 and I am 55. I am entitled to SSDI based on his income, or do I get SSI, as I am not working and havent worked in the last 10 years?

    • I don’t know much about disability or supplemental income benefits, so you’ll need to contact social security. My understanding is that it has to do with your circumstances, not someone else’s, and is based on your record.

  80. Ollie Drake_Atkins says:

    I’m 61 years old will be 62 in October I get 713 a month SSA my husband and I are not together he is 69 years old and he gets ss can I get part of his benefits we or not devoiced or neither remarried

  81. Ollie Drake_Atkins says:

    My husband and I been married for 21years but we are now separated can I get part of his benefits

    • If you are both of retirement age and he is receiving social security retirement benefits, you can receive your own benefits or spousal benefits that are equal to 50% of what he receives. Once you divorce, those benefits will convert to be divorced spouse benefits, if they are based on his earnings.

  82. Laurel A says:

    My current husband is going to be 62 in Nov. We have a 12 year old child so he plans on taking SS at that time and claiming the additional child benefit. I am employed but 12 years younger. Can I leave my current job and collect spousal benefit as the caretaker of our 12 year old ? Would I still be able to collect on my own SS benefit when I turn 62?
    Thnx!

  83. I had a stroke at the brain and had to stop working. I was married for 20 years and we divorced. He re-married but I did not. I receive $1,370.00 a month in disability. My e-husband will be 66 in January he re-married shortly after our divorce to a much younger woman. I filed with Social Security under m own Social Security. Can I file for Social Security under my ex-husband? If not what do I need to know and do? .

    • Check with Social Security. I’m guessing you are getting more disability income than you’d be able to get as a divorced spouse benefit, so you’ll be better off sticking with the disability income.

  84. Global1gal says:

    I’m divorced 3 years now, married for 16 years. I’m 55, my ex-spouse is 51. He worked civil service job for 25 years and the last 10 years made about $100k per years. I found out my ex-spouse had a massive stroke and heart attack and is now on SSDI and can no longer work. I want to apply for SSI or SSDI, due to illness, I’m not sure which one I qualify for. Do I get 50% of his SSDI amount or the standard amount for SSI?? I have no idea which one is for me. I was a homemaker for the majority of our marriage.

    • I don’t know much about SSI and SSDI, but I think SSI is a welfare program for those with extremely low income. SSDI is for those with disability. Contact Social Security Administration and ask them to determine which you are eligible for.

  85. Barbara A Bernard says:

    I am 46 years old and disabled. I have had a number of back surgery’s and am still unable to work. I was married for 10 year and divorced him because he was using drugs. I get a very small check at the moment after my Medicare is deducted I receive $12.00 a month. Because I am disabled can I draw off of his social security? I can’t even afford to eat properly because i can’t afford to pay the house Bill’s and buy food.

  86. I was married for 17 yrs, my ex husband died Feb. of this year. He took early retirement at 62. He was getting 1700.00 a month. I took early retirement at 62, I only get 760.00. What will I get from his ss? I was told different amounts. Thank you.

    • Your surviving divorced spouse benefit is based on 100% of his earnings history. Contact social security right away to tell them that he died and you were married for over 10 years, and so you are entitled to benefits. They can tell you the amount, and if it exceeds your own that’s what you will get.

  87. Married 20 yrs divorce he remarried still married to second wife ,He collects disability 2000 a month I am 65 he is 67 ,how much will I be able to receive when I turned 66

    • When you begin receiving social security retirement benefits, you will receive benefits based on your earnings history or an amount equal to 50% of the retirement benefits he is entitled to based on his history, whichever is greater. Social security will make those computations based on their records.

  88. been married for 30 years now divorced at age 56 i am now on ssd my son is 26 he was disabled at the age of 20 he collect ssd and ssi, would i or my ex be able to collect on his ss benefits?

  89. I am seriously debating on early retirement at age 62, was married for 17 years and divorced. He earnes substantially more than I do, will I have to wait until he draws social security before I am eligible for this divorce Benifits? He is now age 57

  90. I am partially disabled since 2016 when I turn 50 with health issues. How long do I have to wait to get the deprvtive benefits from my ex husband we where married from 4/83 to 6/94? He is still working he is only 58 years old. Do I have to wait until he retires or am I not eligible for it ?

  91. Hello, I was married for 25yrs., I’m 51.
    Ive been divorced for 3 & not married. I had a surgery while married for a tumor and it has left me unable to work. Btw I have been raising kids and did not have enough earnings credit to apply for SSDI. I am currently going through the SSI appeals game? Dr says this is normal being strung along to get approved. My question is: I recently was told that I can get ssdi based on my ex husband’s earnings, he has enough credits. Is this true? I also started applying for SSI 1 month before getting divorce. If this is true….can I just switch & apply for Ssdi instead? He is currently working and not married.

    • If someone from social security gave you the information that you can get ssdi based on his earnings, then likely it is true. If it came from someone else, then treat it as rumor and ask social security it if it is true.

  92. Married 11 years before getting divorced. Remarried at 45 and been married to husband #2 for 29 years. Currently receive SS as does husband #2. Husband #1, died 6 years ago. Entitled to anything from husband #1 while married to husband #2? If divorce husband #2 what are options?

  93. Since you are married to #2, you can’t benefits based on #1. If you and #2 divorce, then you can collect your own benefits, surviving divorced spouse benefits on #1, or divorced spouse benefits based on #2, whichever is greater.

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