A Compassionate Advocate
For Arizona Families

Using an ex-spouse’s work history to claim Social Security

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Divorce

Many people in Arizona and across the United States do not realize that they may be able to collect Social Security retirement benefits because of a former spouse’s earnings history. However, not everyone is eligible to do so, and whether you are depends in large part on how long your marriage lasted.

According to CNBC, about 30% of Americans have no idea that their former spouses’ earnings records may qualify them for Social Security.

Figuring out if you qualify

Several things must be true for you or your ex to qualify for retirement benefits from the U.S. Social Security Administration in the first place. Eligibility depends on age and how long you or your former partner spent working in a job that paid into the nation’s Social Security system. If you are looking to collect these benefits using your former husband or wife’s work history, then the length of your marriage comes into play. To do so, your marriage must not have ended before it hit the 10-year mark.

Figuring out how to maximize payments

Some people may qualify for Social Security retirement benefits using their own earnings record as well as that of a former partner. If you decide to do this, though, it limits you to collecting, at most, half of what your ex gets in payments. Thus, it may prove beneficial to figure out how much your own earnings record would get you and then decide how to proceed.

Whether you do or do not decide to use a former spouse’s earnings history to get these benefits has no impact on how much your former spouse receives in his or her payments.