Do an ex-spouse’s earnings qualify you for Social Security?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2023 | Divorce |

Many married people in Ohio wind up halting or delaying their careers for the sake of raising a family. If you are among those who did so and you are now working toward a divorce, you may question what your financial big picture is going to look like once you hit retirement.

Per CNBC, one thing about 30% of Americans do not realize is that they may, depending on circumstances, be able to get Social Security retirement payments based on the work histories of their former spouses.

Figuring out if you qualify

Whether you or your spouse get these benefits once you reach retirement age depends on how much time each of you devoted to working in a professional role where you paid into the Social Security system. You need to amass a certain amount of “work credits” to qualify. If your ex qualifies and you want to collect these benefits using his or her name, the duration of your marriage matters. You must have remained married for at least 10 years to take advantage of this benefit.

Figuring out if it makes financial sense

You may find that both you and your former spouse worked enough in a Social Security-covered role to qualify for these benefits. In this situation, it pays to do some computing. How much you might get based on your own record depends on how much time you spent working in a position covered by Social Security. If you went the route of collecting Social Security using your spouse’s earnings record, the most you may get is 50% of what he or she receives. So, it may or may not make sense to do this if you also qualify for benefits on your own.

Your collecting these benefits using your ex’s work record does not lessen the amount he or she gets.