How Much Social Security Can You Claim After a Divorce?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, the amount of the Social Security benefit a divorced spouse receives is typically 50 percent of the benefit due her former spouse, notes Charles Schwab. However, some conditions impact the ex-spouse's eligibility and the amount she can collect.

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Full Answer

The amount of an ex-spousal benefit depends on the age of the person who wishes to collect, explains Charles Schwab. The law allows any eligible person to claim Social Security benefits at the age of 62. However, the benefit amount is always less than it would be if the person waited to full retirement age, which is 66 for anyone born between 1946 and 1954. The amount of the reduction is between 7 and 8 percent per year. Thus, a woman born in 1953 who claims her ex-spousal benefit at the age of 62 could receive as much as 32 percent less than if she waited until she was 66.

Another consideration is the amount the ex-spouse would receive on her own work record or that of any other former spouse. Social Security only awards each individual one benefit, which is always the highest amount, the Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement reports. However, a woman can collect on her own work record at 62 and then collect her ex-spousal benefit when she reaches age 66.

Additional considerations affect an ex-spouse's ability to collect on a former spouse's Social Security, explains AARP. For instance, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and the ex-spouse must be single at the time she makes the claim.

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