Protect Your Rights

Clinton, Tennessee Legal Blog

After a Tennessee divorce, you may question whether you have enough set aside to retire comfortably now that you no longer have your one-time spouse to help. Many people in marriages sacrifice their own education or professional development so that their spouses may build their own careers. If this describes your situation, you may feel especially concerned about qualifying for Social Security retirement benefits.

Per CNBC, many people who divorce their partners do not realize that they may be able to collect Social Security retirement benefits based on the work histories of their former partners. However, you need to meet certain eligibility terms in order to qualify.

Qualifying for your ex’s Social Security

Whether anyone is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits depends on certain variables. How long an individual worked in a position where he or she paid into the Social Security system is a key consideration. If your former spouse qualifies for these benefits, you have the option of collecting something called a “spousal benefit” even after a divorce as long as your marriage lasted long enough. To potentially collect these benefits using an ex-spouse’s earnings record, your marriage to that party must have lasted at least a decade.

Deciding whether this makes financial sense

Say you also worked long enough in a Social Security-covered position to be eligible for benefits. In this scenario, it may serve you well to figure out how much your own work history entitles you to collect. Should you decide to take these benefits based on your ex’s history, the most you might receive is half of what your one-time spouse does.

If you do decide to use your ex’s earnings history as opposed to your own, your doing so does not reduce the amount your ex gets in each check.