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blog home Divorce Financial Issues Can I Qualify for Social Security Benefits After Divorce?

Can I Qualify for Social Security Benefits After Divorce?

By Sheryl Rentz on April 17, 2013

If you have been married for at least ten years and meet other requirements, you may qualify for Social Security retirement or disability benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record – even if your former spouse remarries.  A hardworking Pennsylvania divorce attorney can help you understand how your benefits may be affected by divorce.

Retirement benefits are paid through Social Security if a person is 62 years of age or older and has a work record that qualifies him or her for benefits. The former spouses of such workers may also qualify for “derivative benefits,” which amount to one-half of the working spouse’s benefit, as long as the marriage lasted at least ten years and the former spouse does not qualify for a higher benefits award based on his or her own work record.

The spouse receiving derivative benefits can continue to receive them even if the working spouse remarries, and every former spouse of a working spouse qualifies for derivative benefits as long as the marriage lasts at least ten years.  If an ex-spouse receiving derivative benefits remarries, however, he or she may no longer qualify for benefits based on the former marriage.

Disability benefits are paid through Social Security if a person has a disabling condition that prevents him or her from working and that is expected to last at least one year and/or to result in the person’s death.  A spouse or former spouse may qualify for disability benefits based on his or her partner’s or ex-partner’s work record. If the couple is divorced, they must have been married for at least ten years in order for an ex-spouse to qualify for benefits based on the other’s work record.

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