If you’re divorced, you could be eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings. If you’re a Texas resident and need to know about payments that you’re entitled to under family law, here are some important things to know.
Divorced spouse eligibility
To receive Social Security benefits based on your ex’s earnings record, you have to meet certain requirements as a divorced spouse. These include the following:
- You must have been married to that spouse for at least a decade.
- You must be at least 62 years of age.
- You must not be currently married.
As an ex-spouse, you may be entitled to receive disability or retirement benefits at the same time your former spouse applies for these benefits. You can receive benefits from your ex’s earnings if you’ve been divorced for at least two years and the ex-spouse qualifies for retirement benefits but has not applied for them.
How your benefits are administered
If you are eligible to receive retirement benefits on your own earnings record, the Social Security Administration will pay you that amount first. If the earnings record for your ex-spouse is higher, you’ll receive an additional amount so that your combination of benefits is equal to the higher amount.
According to family law as it pertains to Social Security benefits, if you were born before January 2, 1954, and you’ve already reached retirement age, you can decide to receive only your ex-spouse’s benefits and delay receiving your own retirement benefits until a later date.
If you keep working while you’re receiving Social Security benefits, the same earning limits will apply to you and your former spouse. If you can receive benefits this year and are employed, you can use a retirement earnings test calculator to see how your earnings impact your benefits payments. Speak with a family law attorney to get more information on the benefits you’re entitled to.