I’m getting remarried. What happens to Social Security benefits?

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Q. I’m planning to get divorced and then remarried pretty quickly. I’m 70 and I receive Social Security on my current husband’s records. Will something change with the divorce and the remarriage? I can’t afford to lose benefits and I’m not sure I would be able to get them from my new spouse.
— Wife then, and again

A. Congrats on your upcoming marriage.

As you suspected, there are a few conditions and nuances to be aware of as it relates to collecting spousal Social Security benefits after a divorce.

Under the current Social Security rules, if you were married for at least 10 years and then get divorced, you may still be eligible for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, said Melissa Raimundo, a certified financial planner with Beacon Trust in Morristown.

“If you have been married for 10 years or longer, you are over the age of 62, your ex-spouse is entitled to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, and the benefit you’re entitled to receive based on your own earnings record is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s earnings record, then you would generally be able to continue to receive benefits from your spouse even after your divorce,” she said.

Getting remarried changes things, she said.

“If you remarry, then you generally can’t collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s record,” she said. “Any spousal benefits you receive will instead be based on your new spouse’s earnings record.”

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This story was originally published on Feb. 28, 2023.

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