Can I Collect Social Security From My Ex Husband And Myself?

by Aug 14, 2017

Home » FAQs » Can I Collect Social Security From My Ex Husband And Myself?

If you are divorced and your ex-husband receives Social Security benefits, you might be eligible for benefits of your own, based on his monthly payment. Moreover, there is a chance you can collect your own, separate benefits in addition to the compensation from your ex-husband.

The qualification process has a lot of rules and stipulations, though. The Social Security attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can evaluate your situation and advise you on how to maximize your benefits. Call 865-566-0800 for more information on collecting Social Security from your ex-husband and yourself.

What are the different types of Social Security benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) runs three programs that distribute benefits. The first is the traditional retirement benefit program, which you are eligible for once you reach retirement age.

The SSA also runs two programs to help disabled individuals who are not yet eligible for retirement benefits. These are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Of the three programs, the only one that does not allow you to receive your ex-spouse’s benefits is SSI. If your ex-husband receives SSDI or retirement benefits, you can potentially get a monthly payment based on his record with the SSA, even if you qualify for your own benefits, as well.

The SSA awards benefits to spouses—and ex-spouses—based on the record of person who is eligible for benefits. That means if your ex-husband’s work history qualified him for SSDI payments, but yours does not, you can still receive a monthly payment based on his Social Security records.

Under the SSA’s guidelines for divorced spouses, your benefit amount can equal up to 50 percent of the amount your ex-husband receives each month.

What if I was receiving spousal benefits before my husband and I divorced?

If divorce occurs while you are receiving SSDI or retirement spousal benefits, the divorce should not affect your benefits, as long as your situation meets the SSA’s criteria:

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years;
  • You have not gotten remarried; and
  • You are not eligible to receive a larger benefit amount yourself.

If you become eligible for a larger amount, you will not continue to receive your ex-husband’s benefits on top of your own benefits. This can happen if you become disabled and qualify for a higher SSDI payment than the spousal benefits you were receiving. In this case, the SSA would pay you this amount instead of any benefits from your ex-husband.

If, however, you qualify for your own benefits, but the monthly amount is lower than your spousal benefits, the SSA would make up the difference between the two numbers. This way, your total monthly amount will equal what you were making before.

What if my divorced occurred before my ex-husband started receiving his benefits?

Even if you are already divorced before your ex-husband becomes disabled or reaches retirement age, you can still receive benefits from him under these conditions:

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years;
  • You are at least 62 years old;
  • You have not gotten remarried; and
  • You are not eligible to receive a larger benefit amount for yourself.

What if I have dependent children with my ex-husband?

If you have children with your ex-husband and they are under age 16 or disabled—and you are the primary caregiver—you are eligible for an additional benefit. This benefit lasts until your children become adults or no longer qualify as disabled. You will not lose this additional benefit if you get remarried.

What happens if I get remarried?

If you remarry, you lose all benefits from your ex-husband other than the auxiliary benefit for dependent children. If your subsequent marriage ends, either due to divorce, annulment, or death, you can begin receiving ex-spousal benefits again.

What if my ex-husband dies?

You can also receive survivor benefits on behalf of your ex-husband. To be eligible for this benefit, you must meet the SSA’s requirements:

  • Your marriage to your ex-husband lasted at least 10 years;
  • You are at least 60 years old or 50 years old, if disabled;
  • You have not gotten remarried, unless you are over age 60 or age 50, if disabled; and
  • You are not eligible to receive a larger benefit amount for yourself.

Contact a Qualified Social Security Attorney for Help

As you can see from the above, the protocol that governs ex-spouses receiving benefits is not always cut and dry. There are a lot of stipulations and it is important to know exactly what you qualify for before seeking benefits.

A skilled lawyer can help you get the most in compensation. At the Disability Advantage Group, our specialty is Social Security benefits. Our attorneys can analyze your situation—as well as that of your ex-husband—and determine how to maximize your benefits. We are available to answer any questions you have about the process and to offer legal advice. Call our office today at 865-566-0800 to set up a time to meet with our attorneys.