retirement

Social Security and Divorce

If you and your spouse split, you still might be entitled to a share of his or her benefits.

I read about receiving Social Security spousal benefits at age 62 and 65 in your column last month. My husband is divorcing me next month after 37 years of marriage. Will I be able to qualify for half of his benefits? I was a housewife for ten years and have started looking for a job. At 56 years old, I am having trouble finding anyone to hire me. I am worried about my future, as you can tell.

It looks like you don't need to worry about Social Security benefits. Even after you're divorced, you can still qualify for spousal benefits as long as you are at least 62 years old and were married for at least ten years, are unmarried now and are not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own or someone else's Social Security record.

As a spouse, you can receive up to 50% of your husband's full Social Security benefit -- or less if you take benefits before your full retirement age (see this age-reduction chart for details).

Or you can receive benefits based on your own earnings history, if the number is higher. To calculate how much you could qualify for benefits based on your own earnings history, see the Social Security Administration's retirement benefits calculator. You can also receive a benefit estimate by calling Social Security at (800)772-1213.

The amount the divorced spouse receives in benefits has no effect on how much the worker and any new spouse receives. For more information about Social Security and divorce, see Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse.

Most Popular

15 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Buying (And 7 He's Selling)
stocks

15 Stocks Warren Buffett Is Buying (And 7 He's Selling)

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett is a bull once more! The Oracle and his team entered eight new positions and added to others in a big way.
May 17, 2022
Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
Should You Consider a Roth Conversion While the Market is Down?
Roth IRA Conversions

Should You Consider a Roth Conversion While the Market is Down?

Investors who are hurting right now as the stock market takes a hit may want to console themselves with a possible tax bargain created by a Roth conve…
May 16, 2022

Recommended

11 Best Things to Keep in a Safe Deposit Box
home

11 Best Things to Keep in a Safe Deposit Box

These valuables and documents, along with some items you hold dear, should be stored securely at your bank.
May 18, 2022
12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits
social security

12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits

You may have dreamed of a tax-free retirement, but if you live in one of these states, your Social Security benefits may be subject to state taxes.
May 17, 2022
10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees
retirement

10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees

Retirees in these states are likely to have a higher overall state and local tax burden than retirees in other states.
May 16, 2022
Should Retirees Stay Invested and Ride Out These Volatile Times?
retirement

Should Retirees Stay Invested and Ride Out These Volatile Times?

If the markets’ ups and downs have you feeling sick, it’s time to take stock of your whole financial picture. Here are five pieces of that puzzle to h…
May 13, 2022