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Collecting Social Security Benefits After a Divorce

If you're 62 years of age or more and your marriage lasted at least 10 years, then congratulations, because you could be entitled to a portion of your ex-spouse's Social Security retirement benefit. Boston.com reports that a divorcee can increase their Social Security benefit without reducing his her her ex-spouse's benefit.

In order to be eligible for an ex-spouse's Social Security benefits, the divorcee must not be re-married at the time of applying for the benefits. The ex-spouse must be at least 62 years of age in order to collect the Social Security money, but he or she does not have to be retired.

FindLaw states that divorce isn’t the only way that a person is entitled to an ex-spouse’s Social Security. A widow or widower is also usually entitled to Social Security benefits after a spouse dies, even if he or she is still working when applying for the benefits. If a divorced spouse dies, then you can also receive benefits as a widow or widower as long as the marriage lasted 10 years or more and the surviving spouse is not currently married.

After a marriage, newlyweds should make sure that the names on their tax returns match those registered with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to prevent future problems that could arise.

In general, the surviving spouse cannot collect the Social Security benefits if he or she decides to remarry before the age of 60, unless the latter marriage ends. More information on how divorce or re-marriage affects Social Security benefits and retirement benefits can be found through our Related Resource pages.

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