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Question

For a couple that is married for 10 years, if the husband pays into Social Security for those 10 years while his spouse does not work, when they get divorced, is the non-working ex-spouse eligibible for Social Security benefits (because the marriage lasted 10 years)? 

 

If the husband keeps working for years after the divorce, will the ex-spouse's benefit amount be impacted?  

 

Answer


The divorced spouse, if all the eligibility requirements are met, is entitled to 50% of the ex-spouse's benefit at retirement age as long as her own benefit, if she qualifies for one, is not greater than this amount.

 

Social Security - Divorced Spouse Benefits

 

All the other rules for benefits still apply — early filing, full retirement age, etc. If the ex-spouse keeps working until he is 70 — to earn a higher benefit for himself than he would have gotten at his FULL Retirement age, it does not count towards any sort of spousal benefit — married or divorced.

 

Question 

This is assuming the ex-wife will not work in U.S. and will have zero Social Security credits, the husband's post-divorce payments into Social Security will grow the ex-wife's Social Security benefit amount, right? 

 

Answer 

As long as all eligibility rules apply (see the link), her full retirement age divorced spouse benefit will be 50% of his benefit at full retirement age. If he continues to work past his full retirement age to age 70, she will get none of this benefit bonus.

 

If she wants these divorced spouse benefits received while she is living outside the U.S., that has more rules of its own. 

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