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Benefits if Divorced

YOU MAY BE ENTITLED to spousal benefits based on your ex-husband or ex-wife’s earnings record, assuming your marriage lasted at least 10 years. If you remarry, however, you lose this right. Instead, you could potentially claim benefits based on your new spouse’s earnings record.

Similarly, you may be eligible for survivor benefits based on your late ex-spouse’s earnings record. Again, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. As with a married spouse, you need to be at least age 60 to receive survivor benefits. In this case, it’s okay if you are remarried—as long as you didn’t remarry until after age 60. What if you remarry before age 60? You lose the right to survivor benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings record, but you should qualify for survivor benefits based on your new spouse’s earnings record.

None of this should cause your ex-spouse any concern: If you claim benefits based on his or her earnings record, it won’t affect either your ex-spouse’s benefit or those of, say, his or her new wife or husband.

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