Can you collect Social Security using an ex-spouse’s work record?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2022 | Family Law

Whether you receive Social Security retirement benefits when you retire in Virginia depends on several factors, including whether you have enough of a work history in positions covered by Social Security to qualify for them. If you do not have enough of a work history to get them, but your ex-husband or ex-wife does, you may be able to use his or her earnings record to obtain them – provided several things hold true.

CNBC reports that about 30% of Americans do not know that they may be eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefits using the work record of a former spouse.

How to know if you are eligible

If your ex is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits because he or she is old enough and has enough of a work history to do so, one additional thing must hold true for you to be able to collect these benefits using your ex’s record. To do so, your marriage to this individual must have lasted 10 years or longer.

How your actions impact your ex

If you decide to collect these benefits using your ex’s earnings record, it should not anger him or her. Your decision to do so has no effect whatsoever on the amount your ex takes home in Social Security retirement benefits each month.

Keep in mind that the most you may collect using your ex’s earnings record is half of the amount he or she gets. Thus, it may make sense to see how much you would get using your own earnings record and then compare the two numbers to see which is higher.