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Can you get Social Security using an ex-spouse’s work record?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2022 | Divorce

When you plan for retirement as a married resident of New Jersey, you may count on your partner and his or her retirement contributions to help support you once you no longer receive employment income.  Yet, if your marriage ends in divorce, your retirement picture may suddenly look a whole lot different.

CNBC reports that many people facing similar circumstances do not know that they may be eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefits after divorce based on their former partner’s earnings history, rather than their own. An estimated 30% of Americans are unaware that this is the case.

What determines if you may do so

Beyond your former husband or wife qualifying for Social Security retirement benefits based on his or her employment history, the main factor that determines if you may collect these benefits under his or her work record is the length of your marriage. You must have remained married for 10 years or longer to be able to do so.

What determines if doing so is wise

Depending on your own work history, you may also qualify for Social Security retirement benefits yourself. How much you might get each month depends on several variables, including how much time you spent in a professional role that paid into the Social Security system. With some research, you should be able to determine if you would get more in Social Security retirement benefits if you took them using your own work record – or that of your ex-spouse.

Should you decide to get these benefits using your former partner’s earnings record, your decision to do so does not impact how much your ex receives each month.


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