Why should a spouse receive a percentage of an ex-spouse's retirement benefits?


Quick Answer

Ex-spouses are able to claim such benefits because in some relationships, one partner goes to work while the other stays home to care for house and children. An ex-spouse is allowed to claim Social Security benefits that provide financial security after being divorced for two years.

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Full Answer

In the case of Social Security retirement benefits, an ex-spouse is entitled to receive a portion of benefits as per U.S. Code 2032. An ex-spouse can receive a benefit equal to 50 percent of the retirement annuity. Social Security benefits provide a financial cushion and prevent poverty. The Social Security benefit system allows an ex-spouse to make a claim on a former partner's retirement benefits.

While Social Security retirement benefits are available to an ex-spouse, there are some restrictions. An ex-spouse must have been married to the recipient for a minimum of 10 years to be eligible for benefits. Claims cannot be filed before the recipient, or ex-spouse, turns the legal age to collect benefits. An ex-spouse is prohibited from claiming benefits upon remarriage. Likewise, if an ex-spouse is already receiving a portion of benefits, these stop upon remarriage. Benefits paid to an ex-spouse don't reduce the amount of benefits paid to Social Security recipients.

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