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Social Security for divorced spouses

If you are divorced, you may be aware that you can potentially claim retirement benefits on your ex-spouse’s earnings record.

As a divorcee, you may be eligible to receive a spousal benefit equal to 50 percent of what your ex-spouse will collect at his or her full retirement age — even if your ex has remarried. You will collect a permanently reduced benefit if you opt to file before you reach your own full retirement age.

You may claim a spousal benefit regardless of whether your ex has filed for his or her Social Security benefit. In order for you to collect:

· your former spouse must be entitled to Social Security retirement benefits, and

· the benefit you would receive based on your own work history must be less than what you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work history.

You will also have to show that:

· You are at least 62 years old

· Your marriage lasted 10 years or more

· You are currently unmarried

If your ex-spouse has not yet filed, you will also have to show that you have been divorced for at least two years at the time you file for a spousal benefit.1

Note that if you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your later marriage ends due to death or divorce.[1]

No matter how or when you choose to begin collecting your benefit, it’s a good idea to contact the Social Security Administration ahead of time. That way, you can get the information you need to make an informed decision.

If you have not done so already, you should set up your “My Social Security” page on This is an easy and secure way to view your estimated benefits so you can plan effectively.

Final decisions about Social Security filing strategies always rest with you and should always be based on your specific needs and health considerations. One year after the Social Security claiming decision is made the options for change are extremely limited.

It also may be wise to contact a financial advisor well versed in Social Security filing strategies to help explore your options.

(*1) Social Security Administration, “Benefits Planner: Retirement, If You Are Divorced.”

The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual and its subsidiaries, employees, and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. You are encouraged to seek advice from your own tax or legal counsel.

Provided by Jordan Jones, courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual)

© 2019 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA 01111-0001




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