Divorced? How to determine your Social Security spousal benefits

You may be entitled to more than you think

Published: August 06, 2015 06:00 PM

Q: I was married for more than 20 years before getting divorced, and I haven’t remarried. I understand that I’m entitled to half of my ex-spouse’s Social Security retirement benefits. How can I estimate my spousal benefits? — C.F., Colorado Springs, Colo.

A. If you were married for at least 10 years, you qualify for up to half of your spouse’s Social Security retirement benefit. If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried) if:

  • You are still unmarried;
  • You are age 62 or older;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse's work.

The best way to find how much that will be is to call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 or to visit your local Social Security office. You’ll need to provide names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth for both of you. Check here with the Social Security Administration to learn more. 

Consumer Reports' Retirement Planning Guide helps you plan for your next life chapter.

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