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Can you obtain your ex's Social Security benefits?

If you got a divorce earlier in life but now have reached retirement, one of your questions may be if you can ask for your ex-spouse's Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

While you might have been entitled to spousal benefits in the past, the truth is that you probably aren't entitled to them now. Once you become an "ex" spouse, you are usually no longer entitled to disability benefits. However, if you were married 10 years or longer and haven't remarried, then you can seek survivor benefits based on your ex-husband's work history and retirement benefit.

Your age doesn't matter as much in this equation as your ex-spouse's age does. Once they reach the age of 62, whether alive or deceased, you can seek out the benefits. At the age of 62, you can also file to receive your own Social Security benefits. You don't normally receive both, so the goal you have should be to seek out whichever benefit is higher.

For example, if your benefit is going to be around $1,000 each month but your ex-spouse's would be $1,500, you'd be able to file for those benefits once your ex-spouse reaches the required age. Wait as long as you can to claim these benefits, because doing so will increase your benefit by as much as 8 percent yearly. If you're still working, you should also wait to claim Social Security benefits, since they are reduced for every $2 you earn over $17,640 in 2019.

If you're ready to seek SSD or your ex-spouse's retirement benefits, your attorney can help you apply.

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