Your 10-Year Reward James McGlynn | July 7, 2020
IF YOU’RE MARRIED, filing for Social Security can be confusing. But there’s one group who has it even worse—those who are divorced. In recent weeks, I’ve had a number of conversations with women who had no idea that they were even eligible for spousal benefits based on their ex-husband’s earnings record. (I also recently watched the television show Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, which gave completely erroneous advice on benefits for ex-spouses.) My hope: Someone reading this may learn that he or she is eligible for spousal or survivor benefits from an ex-spouse.
A divorced spouse is eligible for Social Security spousal benefits if he or she was married for 10 years or more. Period. Being married for only nine-and-a-half years doesn’t cut it. Every divorce lawyer in the country should be aware that it’s worth delaying a divorce, so the marriage officially lasts at least 10 years. There are other mistakes and misconceptions among those who are divorced. The ex-spouse isn’t informed that you’re filing. The ex-spouse can’t prevent you from filing. As long as you’ve been divorced for more than two years, you’re aged 62 or older and your ex-spouse is at least age 62, you would be eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, as long as the marriage lasted 10-plus years.
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