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Ask Bob: How Much Social Security Do Divorced Spouses Receive?

If your ex-spouse is still living, you must take your own benefit before being eligible for an additional spousal benefit, says Jim Blair, a founder of the National Social Security Association.

Question

I was married for 21 years and am currently unmarried. I was born in 1961. My ex-husband is six years my junior. Am I able to claim Social Security benefits at age 62, on my own, then when I turn 67 claim on my ex-husband's Social Security benefit? 

His income was much higher. Also, if I do decide to claim my own benefits at 62, do I lose the right to claim on my ex-husband's Social Security benefits, or do I get both my Social Security benefits and my ex-husband's Social Security benefits too?

Answer

If your ex-spouse is still living, you must take your own benefit before being eligible for an additional spousal benefit, says Jim Blair, a founder of the National Social Security Association.

"If your own benefit amount at your full retirement age is less than one-half of your ex-spouse's benefit at his full retirement age you will receive an additional benefit from his work record when he attains age 62," says Blair. 

To receive an amount equal to one-half of your ex-husband’s full retirement age benefit you will have to wait until age 67 to claim your own retirement, he says. 

If you take your own retirement at age 62 it will be reduced for age and this reduction will carry through when the ex-spousal benefit is added to your monthly benefit.

Read Retirement Benefits

Question

I was married for 21 years and am currently unmarried. I was born in 1961. My ex-husband is six years my junior. Am I able to claim Social Security benefits at age 62, on my own, then when I turn 67 claim on my ex-husband's Social Security benefit? 

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