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Using a former spouse’s work history to get Social Security

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2023 | Divorce

Following the breakdown of your Louisiana marriage, you may question your ability to maintain the same lifestyle you enjoy now during retirement. In truth, a divorce may have a serious impact on your financial stability and retirement savings in your later years, but if you meet certain criteria, you may be able to claim Social Security using the earnings record of your former spouse.

CNBC reports that 30% of Americans are unaware that claiming Social Security using a former spouse’s work record may be possible.

What determines if you may do so

The main variable determining whether you may claim spousal benefits when your marriage ends is how long that union lasted. To take advantage of this perk, your marriage to someone who qualifies for Social Security retirement benefits must have lasted 10 years or more. So, if you are thinking about pulling the plug on your marriage and are nearing that 10-year milestone, you may want to wait to end things until you reach it.

What determines if you should do so

Even if your marriage lasted 10 years or more, it is wise to consider all of your options before deciding whether claiming spousal benefits is the right move. If you are also eligible for Social Security based on your own earnings, then it may make more sense to use your own work record. If you claim spousal benefits, this limits you to collecting 50%, at most, of what your former partner collects.

Your ex-spouse’s monthly payment amount remains the same regardless of if you claim retirement benefits using his or her work history, so whether you do so should not become a point of contention between you.

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