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Finding Your Way Financially After Divorce: Ex-Spouse Benefits From Social Security

Managing finances after divorce can be challenging, even in the best of times. If you are at or near retirement age and contemplating life on a fixed income, you don’t want to leave any money on the table.

If you meet certain criteria, you may be able to receive Social Security benefits based upon your ex-spouse’s record. Doing so will have no effect on the benefits received by your former spouse (or his or her current spouse), but may provide increased benefits for you.

You can receive benefits based upon your former spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:

1. Your marriage lasted at least 10 years;

2. You are 62 years of age, or older;

3. You are unmarried (if you have remarried, you can only collect ex-spouse benefits if your latest marriage has ended by death, divorce, or annulment);

4. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits; AND

5. The benefit you would receive based upon your own work record is less than the benefit you would receive based upon the work record of your former spouse.

If you are eligible, you are entitled to receive benefits equal to up to 50% of your former spouse’s benefits, if you wait until full retirement age to collect. You can apply for benefits based upon your ex-spouse’s record even if he or she has not yet retired, so long as you have been divorced for at least two years before applying.

To discuss issues relating to divorce or other family matters, contact Kruse Family Law at 612.231.9865 or email

Finding your way financially after divorce can be difficult without guidance.

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