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Five Qualifications to Collect Benefits Based on Your Spouse’s Social Security Credits

Socail Security and DivorceMany times when an older couple divorces there is a focus on Social Security benefits available to the parties.  The financially dependent spouse is often anxious about his or her retirement and the benefits that may  be available. The wage earning spouse can have concerns about his or her benefits especially if they intend to the remarry.  Often the eligibility for social security benefits is a key consideration in reaching a property settlement agreement (“PSA”).

Under the Social Security Administration regulations you can receive benefits based solely on your ex-spouse’s record if:

  1. The marriage lasted at least 10 years, and
  2. The person seeking to collect must not have remarried, and
  3. This person must be 62 or older, and
  4. The ex-spouse must be entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits on their own, and
  5. The ex-spouses benefit based on his or her own earnings record must be smaller than what they would collect on their former spouse’s earnings history.

It is important to note the benefits collected by a financially dependent spouse do not reduce the benefits received by the wage earning spouse. Additionally, the benefits of thefinancially dependent spouse will not be affected by the remarriage of the wage earning spouse.  These factors can be an especially important considerations when negotiating alimony and equitable distribution for parties close to retirement age.

In the event an ex-spouse re-married they are generally not eligible to collect on their former spouse’s earnings record unless the later marriage ends by death, divorce or annulment.  This eligibility requirement can be particularly important if the non-wage earner spouse is contemplating re-marriage.  This is one way Social Security eligibility requirements can be very similar to alimony eligibility requirements.

If you have questions about you eligibility for social security benefits based upon your marriage or the impact a divorce will have on your eligibility for Social Security benefits contact the lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele at (856) 546-1350 for a confidential consultation.

Post Author: Rick DeMichele

Richard A. DeMichele, Jr. is a seasoned litigator, devoting a substantial part of his practice to family law and personal injury matters.

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