According to the Wall Street Journal, divorced spouses who were married for at least 10 years may be eligible for a bigger Social Security based on their ex’s earnings.
The additional dollars are especially welcome news for divorced spouses – typically women – who are living on modest or fixed incomes, who (again, typically) earned less than their spouses during the marriage, and who are afraid that divorce is going to wreak havoc on their Social Security benefits.
However, there are some conditions that factor into the equation, including:
- The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years
- Claimants must be at least 62, and their former spouse must be collecting Social Security benefits
- Claimants must be at least 60 and their former spouse has passed away
- Claimants must either be unmarried (or divorced at least 2 years), or if remarried, must have done so after age 60
Those concerned about whether their ex remarried, or that in order to collect the additional benefits they’ll have to communicate with their ex, can also breathe a sigh of relief: The Social Security Administration handles everything, and makes a determination based on the ex’s records of earnings. No communication between ex-spouses is necessary.
“This is a very important piece of news,” commented Divorce Magazine’s Martha Chan. “There are many women who divorced decades ago who have no idea that they are entitled to these additional Social Security benefits.”
Individuals, children with divorced or widowed parents, or other caregivers can get more information by calling the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213, or visiting their website at http://www.ssa.gov/