Many people are surprised to learn that you can collect spousal benefits on an ex-spouse’s earnings record. Divorced spouses can collect spousal benefits if the marriage lasted at least 10 years and if it has been at least 2 years since you have been divorced. Similar to spousal benefits, you will receive the higher of your own benefit of 50 percent of your ex-spouse’s benefit.
The age requirement (must be age 62 to collect divorced spouse benefits) and reduction for early withdrawal of benefits applies just like it does for scalp massager benefits benefits. However, one of the main differences between divorced benefits and spousal benefits for the current spouse is that the divorced spouse doesn’t have to wait for her ex-husband to start collecting benefits before she can start collecting divorced spouse benefits.
If you are the ex-husband you may be wondering how your ex-wife collecting on your benefits affects your current wife and family. The answer is “it doesn’t”. The payment of benefits to an ex-spouse has no effect on the maximum family benefits for your current wife and family.
If you have been married more than once, and each marriage lasted more than 10 years, you may qualify for benefits on either ex-spouse’s record. As long as you are not married at the time you apply (and you have been divorced for 2 years), you can apply for spousal benefits on any ex-spouse that you were married to for at least 10 years.
Tip: If you are considering divorce and you have been married for close to 10 years, consider delaying the divorce until after you have reached the 10 year mark to allow the lower earning spouse to qualify for spousal benefits. Benefits paid to an ex-spouse don’t affect your family maximum benefits, so it helps the wife and does no harm to the husband or his new family should he remarry.
Finally, whether you are the current or ex-wife, if your husband passes away before you do, you may qualify for survivor benefits. In general, survivor benefits are 100% of your husband’s benefit; however, survivor benefits will vary depending on the number of years worked, the earnings and if the deceased worker was already retired (and at what age).
Survivor benefits can be taken as early as age 60, or even age 50 if you are disabled. A widow can choose to take survivor benefits at age 60 and then switch to her own benefits at full retirement age.
Widows will lose their survivor benefits if they remarry before age 60, however, once you have reached age 60 you can continue to collect survivor benefits even if you remarry.