Ask Bob: How do I File for Social Security Benefits When I'm Divorced?

Robert Powell, CFP®


I was married for 28 years and was a housewife during that time. I have been divorced for 8 years - not remarried. I’ve been working for 6 years, which is the longest work history I have so obviously my ex-spouse has made much more money during his working years.

I do have all the information (including his Social Security number). Can I apply online or do I have to go to a Social Security office in person since I will be collecting from him? (I do know this does not take away from his social security.) He is retired and is living.


Benefits from an ex-spouse’s work history can be filed online, says Marc Kiner a CPA with Premier Social Security Consulting. An alternative to filing online is to file in person when Social Security offices open up again or via a phone call with the Social Security Administration.

“Social Security will request documents such as the divorce decree to prove 10 years of marriage,” he notes. And, you must be at least age 62 to begin benefits. “If you are over full retirement age, you can file for six months of retroactive benefits,” Kiner says, adding, and the six months cannot precede the full retirement age.

Got questions? Get answers!

Got questions about Social Security, Medicare, retirement, investments, or money in general? Get answers. Email Kim McSheridan assisted with this report. 


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