I’m divorced. Can I get Social Security from my ex?

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Q. I divorced my husband but I’m three years short of 10 years of marriage to qualify for his Social Security benefits. Can I get spousal benefits now that he’s deceased?
— Divorced

A. Nope.

Many divorced people don’t realize they may be able to receive Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse’s earnings record.

But as you noted, the marriage had to have lasted 10 years or longer, said Jeralyn Lawrence, a family law attorney with Lawrence Law in Watchung.

She notes a few items you should know about these rules.

If you had been married 10 years, you could have collected benefits even if your spouse had remarried.

But you wouldn’t be able to collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record if you remarry unless your subsequent marriage ends by divorce, annulment or death, Lawrence said.

Should your ex-spouse predecease you, you could still get benefits on his record – as long as you were married 10 years, you don’t remarry and you meet other qualifications.

“Notably, collecting benefits based on the deceased ex-spouse’s record does not impact those benefits to which his/her surviving spouse is entitled,” Lawrence said.

To learn more about the rules, click here.

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This story was originally published on Nov. 30, 2019.

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