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Do you have the right to Social Security after divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2021 | Marital Asset Division

It’s always a good idea to make the most of your Social Security benefits. If you’re a divorced resident of Washington, you may be able to receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings. Here are a few rules to keep in mind when it comes to claiming Social Security benefits after a high-asset divorce.

Determining your eligibility

If you were involved in a high-asset divorce and will be retiring soon, it’s best to educate yourself about Social Security benefits so that you’ll know whether you can collect these benefits from your former spouse. You can collect based on your ex’s earnings record if you:

  • Are at least 62 years old
  • Are single
  • Were married to your ex-spouse for at least a decade

If the benefits you are entitled to based on your employment history are less than what you would receive based on your ex’s work history, you can collect Social Security from your ex-spouse’s earnings in addition to your own. You can also collect before your ex retires if you’ve been divorced for two years or more.

How much you can receive

After your high-asset divorce is final, you can get up to 50% of the total amount your ex-spouse would get in benefits when they reach retirement age. This amount does not include your own benefits. However, your benefits must be lower than half of your ex-spouse’s benefits for you to apply and be approved for Social Security based on their record.

Speak to your family law attorney if you need to know what your rights are after divorce or you need more information on the benefit application process. Knowing whether you are eligible to claim your spouse’s benefits may influence how you negotiate during the divorce.