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Claiming Social Security using a former spouse’s work record

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Blog, High-Asset Divorce |

When you marry someone in Michigan, you probably plan on spending the rest of your life with this person and financing your retirement together. However, many Michigan marriages fail to go the distance, and if yours is among them, you may have legitimate concerns about being able to retire in the manner you anticipated.

According to CNBC, you may, depending on certain variables, be able to claim Social Security retirement benefits using the earnings history of your former husband or wife after a divorce.

What determines if you may do so

Whether you, your former spouse or any other American is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits in the first place comes down to how much time someone worked in a position that pays into the nation’s Social Security system. If your ex-spouse qualifies for these benefits, the next determining factor is the length of your marriage. As long as your marriage lasted 10 years or more, you may collect Social Security using your ex’s work history.

What determines if it makes financial sense to do so

In some instances, you, too, may be eligible for these benefits based on your own earnings history. If you collect them using your former partner’s name, there are limits to how much you may get, as you only become eligible for half the amount your ex gets each month. Thus, it makes sense to determine how much you would get using your own earnings history and then compare it against how much you might get if you claimed these benefits using your ex’s name and earnings record.

Keep in mind, too, that remarrying puts a stop to your ability to collect Social Security using the work history of a former spouse.