In many Pennsylvania marriages, one party makes professional or academic sacrifices for the good of his or her partner or family. If you stayed home to raise children or maintain your home while your spouse had a full-time job, you may wonder where you stand financially if you and your spouse divorce.
Per CNBC, a growing number of married couples are parting ways later in life, leaving many people with concerns about having enough to get by on after retirement. If you do not have enough of a work history to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, you may be able to get “spousal benefits” that equal up to half the amount your former spouse takes home.
What determines eligibility
The length of your marriage determines if you are able to get spousal benefits based on your ex-husband or ex-wife’s work history. Your union must have lasted 10 years or more for you to qualify. Marrying someone else after your divorce disqualifies you from being able to collect these benefits based on your initial partner’s earnings record.
What you need to determine
If you worked for some length of time in one or more positions where you paid into Social Security, you may qualify for Social Security retirement benefits without having to use your ex’s work history. Because you would only be able to get, at most, half of the amount your former spouse does, it may serve you well to figure out how much you would get using your own work record and then collect whichever amount is higher.
An estimated 30% of people are unaware that they may be able to collect Social Security retirement benefits based on a former husband or wife’s earnings record, rather than their own.