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Can stay-at-home spouses get social security after a divorce?

by | Oct 13, 2021 | Divorce

Being a stay-at-home spouse is unlike other careers. It’s not a nine-to-five job, you have no employer to give you health benefits and there is no sponsored retirement plan. It also raises different questions following a divorce, such as whether you qualify for social security benefits. And if so, how?

Social security eligibility

Basic eligibility for social security benefits is based upon an individual’s work history. Over the years, a portion of their income is diverted to the fund so that it is available to them upon reaching retirement age. If your career was being the spouse who remained home and cared for the household, you do not have the necessary work history qualify for social security benefits on your own record. However, you can draw benefits based upon the work history of your ex-spouse.

To be eligible for benefits drawn from your ex-spouse’s record, you must have been married for at least 10 years and your ex-spouse must qualify for benefits. They don’t have to be receiving the benefits yet, but they must at least qualify for them. Additionally, you must be at least 62 years old and cannot have remarried following the divorce of your ex-spouse.

How much are the benefits I can receive?

Generally speaking, the maximum benefit amount you can receive is 50% of the amount your ex-spouse is entitled to. However, your age at which you take the benefit can impact the amount. The earlier you begin receiving social security benefits, the lower the maximum amount you can receive.

Some people have at least a partial work history, even if they spent most of their time as a stay-at-home spouse. As a result, they may qualify for benefits on their own record, but at a lower amount. When this is the case, you can still collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work history, rather than your own, so long as you meet the requirements to do so.