Does marriage or divorce affect my Social Security benefits? 

Yes, it does!  Social Security pays spouses, divorced spouses, widows and widowers.  To be eligible as a divorced spouse, your marriage must have lasted 10 years prior to your divorce.  If you were married for 10 or more years, your spouse’s/divorced spouse’s benefits are protected as early as age 62.  If your spouse predeceases you, you can receive widow’s/widower’s benefits as early as age 60 and disabled widow’s/widower’s benefits as early as age 50.  

Keep in mind that re-marriage prior to attaining age 50 or age 60 can prevent payment as a surviving spouse on a prior marriage.  So do some financial planning – be sure saying ‘I do’ does not result in an ‘I don’t’ get to receive benefits from a prior marriage.  You have the right to know what payments you may be due from your work or the work of a current or prior spouse.  Then make your wedding plans according to what makes sense for you and your family! 

Fortunately, your payments as a spouse, are not reduced by an ex-spouse’s eligibility. But f you had more than one marriage that lasted 10 years, you can only collect on one record at a time. No double-dipping allowed! 

To be in the know, visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call Social Security toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.

Still have questions? We’d welcome the opportunity to talk to you about your experience! Roose & Ressler is a team of Social Security disability lawyers with more than 40 years of experience handling disability claims in northern Ohio. We have offices located throughout northern Ohio in Mansfield, Toledo, Wooster, and Lorain. We are passionate about helping you appeal or win your claim. In addition to offering a free initial consultation, we are caring lawyers committed to understanding the frustrations and delays people experience with Social Security disability claims in Ohio.

Written by Roose & Ressler consultant Jennifer Staab, retired from Social Security with 37 years of service.

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