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Social Security Benefits and Divorce

Retirement and Disability Benefits of a Former Spouse


The rules regarding Social Security benefits and divorce are complex, but if you have been married before, it’s important to talk about this issue with a Social Security attorney. You may be entitled to part of your former spouse’s benefits, including retirement benefits and disability benefits.

Do You Qualify?

You may qualify to get part of your spouse’s Social Security benefits if:

  • You were married for at least ten years or more.
  • You are 62 years or older.
  • You are not married.
  • Your former spouse can receive Social Security benefits, and the benefits you would receive on your own from Social Security are less than the benefits you would be entitled to through your ex-spouse.

Getting benefits after a divorce is not dependent on your sex or on your former partner’s marital status. Whether you’re a man or woman and even if your partner has remarried, you may qualify to get some benefits if you meet all the above requirements.

What Do I Qualify For?

If you meet eligibility requirements, you will be able to get half of your former husband or wife’s Social Security disability benefit or retirement amount — as long as you start getting your benefits at retirement age. If you qualify for Social Security benefits yourself, you may get part of your benefits on your own and some from your former spouse’s Social Security benefits.

No matter what benefits you receive, it will not change how much your spouse and their new spouse receive in benefits.

Special Circumstances

You may not qualify for Social Security benefits if you’re married. However, if you remarried and the marriage ended due to death, divorce or annulment — and the marriage has been over for at least two years — you may still be able to claim some of your ex-partner’s benefits.

If your former husband or wife has passed away, you may qualify for survivor’s benefits, as long as you were married to your partner for at least ten years. Even if you remarry after your ex-partner’s death, you may still qualify for benefits on their record, as long as you remarry after age 50 (if you get disability benefits) or age 60 (if you get retirement benefits).

If your former husband or wife has passed away and you’re taking care of their child who is disabled or under the age of 16, you may qualify for additional benefits if the child is receiving benefits from the deceased’s benefits account. In this situation, you may qualify for survivor’s benefits even if you and your partner weren’t married for ten years. If you qualify for benefits in this situation, any partner your ex-spouse married before their death might have their benefits affected by your claim.

Filing a Claim

The rules for Social Security benefits can be confusing, and the paperwork can be difficult to understand. A legal professional can be a guiding hand throughout the process. To learn more about benefits, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco. Lisa M. Ritacco serves all of Pennsylvania as well as New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Contact Lisa M. Ritacco today for a consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation.

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