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My partner and I split. Am I entitled to their social security benefits?

Emily Olson

Codified in the Code of Federal Regulations subsection 404.331, an individual may be entitled to their ex-spouse’s social security benefits. To be eligible to apply for your ex-spouse’s social security benefits, you need to be married for at least 10 years, have not remarried, at least 62 years old, your ex-spouse must be entitled to collect Social Security benefits, and if your ex-spouse is not yet 62, you must be divorced for 2 years.

If the above applies to you, then you could receive up to 50% of your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. However, if you apply for your ex-spouse’s social security benefits before you turn 66 years and 4 months old (if you were born in 1956) or 67 years old, then the amount of benefits you would receive will be lower than 50%, but not lower than 32.5% of your ex-spouse’s social security benefits. You are only entitled to one of the social security benefits, either yours or your ex-spouse’s, whichever is higher.

It is important to note that your ex-spouse will not receive less social security benefits if you are entitled to their benefits. Your ex-spouse will still receive the benefits they are entitled to. Receiving your ex-spouse’s benefits will also not affect your ex-spouse’s current spouse.

To apply for these benefits, visit the Social Security website or your local Social Security Office for further information.


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