General Question

joejoe13's avatar

Do Spousal Social security benefits stop after divorce?

Asked by joejoe13 (9points) March 30th, 2017

If my wife has started receiving spousal SS benefits and then we get divorced do the benefits stop. I ask because there is some 2 year rule mentioned in the guidelines about getting spousal benefits if you are divorced.

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17 Answers

chyna's avatar

Hi @joejoe13 and welcome to Fluther. How old are both of you?

joejoe13's avatar

I am 66 and wife is 65

chyna's avatar

It is my understanding that she can continue getting your benefits for life unless she remarries.
Edited to add that you had to have been married 10 years.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@chyna Do they have to be married for 10 years or is that only for a second marriage?

chyna's avatar

They have to be married for 10 years before an ex spouse can make a claim.
I was only married 5 years and never remarried but can not claim on his ss.

joejoe13's avatar

Thank you for the info. Reason I asked is when I called the SS office they said the benefits would continue but when another person I know asked the SS office they said they would stop and she would have to wait 2 years to start again. I did not think the second answer received was correct.
Thank you all.

janbb's avatar

@joejoe13 pThey did change the rules recently. I just started collecting on my Ex’s and was able to because our divorce was more than two years ago. Not sure how the new rules apply to you but they are very helpful if you make an appointment and go in.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Make the appointment, the local SS Office some mornings has a wait time of one and half hours for walk-ins.
People with appointments just show up at the appointment time and go to the agent.

Coloma's avatar

As others have said, if the marriage was considered “long term,” over 10 years, the ex spouse can claim on the other ex spouses benefit if it is the higher of the two and is also eligible for widows benefits should the spouse whose benefit is being collected on dies.

joejoe13's avatar

Thank you for the information. I was able to find this on the official ss site about when you need to tell them about changes. Appears the 2 year rule is only if I had not applied for my benefits. so, it looks like it would not stop.
If you get married or divorced
If you get married or divorced, your Social Security benefits may be affected, depending on the kind of benefits you receive.
If we stop your benefits because of marriage or remarriage, we may start them again if the marriage ends.
The chart below includes examples.
If you get: Then:
Your own retirement benefits Your benefits will continue.
Spouse’s benefits Your benefits will continue if you get divorced and you’re age 62 or older unless you were married less than 10 years.

Coloma's avatar

@joejoe13 Also, an ex spouse collecting on your benefit is entitled to 50% of said behefit and their collecting has no bearing on your full benefit amount or that of a new spouse that is eleigible to collect f they meet the 10 yr. marriage criteria. In other words, your slice of the SS benefit pie remains intact so it is not like you are actually taking any kind of loss by an ex spouse collecting their share of your benefit.

Seek's avatar

Is that spousal benefit for the life of the receiving spouse, or does it end when the “earner” passes?

joejoe13's avatar

If I were to pass she would then be entitled to 100% of my benefit.

Coloma's avatar

^Yep. I think it then changes to being called a widows benefit but it’s the same thing essentially.

janbb's avatar

In my situation since I’ve worked too, I am taking half of my Ex’s until I’m 70 and leaving mine in to grow until then. Then I will take mine and stop getting half of his. I did have to wait until I was of full retirement age to do that though.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Spousal benefits are not paid while you (the record owner) is alive. You should obtain and read the booklet about SS retirement benefits which can be found on

Coloma's avatar

@MollyMcGuire You mean widows benefits?
S.S. is paid to both parties at retirement age.

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