Can I get Social Security from my ex-spouse?


Q. I’m 62 and divorced after 29 years of marriage. I’ve never married. What can I get from my husband’s Social Security? Does he have to be retired for me to get this, or is there a way to get payments sooner? My spousal support will end in two years.
— Ex-wife

A. Because you were married for more than 10 years and you’re 62, you are eligible to collect on your ex-spouse’s Social Security.

But there’s one important piece of information you didn’t mention.

Is your ex-husband 62 yet?

“Your ex-husband would also need to be age 62 or older for you to collect 50% of his benefit,” said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with Equitable Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

He does not have to be currently collecting on his benefit, she said.

First, though, you should contact Social Security to see if you have your own Social Security benefit and what that amount would be, D’Agostini said.

“If you worked for 40 quarters or 10 years, then you likely have a benefit of your own which may be greater than one-half your ex-spouse’s benefit,” she said. “You could start to collect now and convert to the higher spousal benefit at your full retirement age of 67.”

D’Agostini said you can only collect on the greater of the two benefits.

One warning: If you remarry while receiving benefits, you are no longer eligible to receive the spousal benefit, she said.

To apply, you will need to either visit your local Social Security office or apply online at

“You will need to provide his name, Social Security number, date and place of birth and parent’s names,” she said. “Your ex-husband will not be involved or notified of your filing.”

Also note that your Social Security benefit grows by 7 to 8% a year from ages 62 to 70, so waiting until your spousal support runs out might make sense, D’Agostini said.

You have to weigh the amounts against your other personal circumstances, she said.

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This story was originally published on Jan. 28, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.