Long Divorced Spouse Can Claim Retirement Benefits Through Former Spouse

Husband and Wife divorce.

Twenty-five years later, Wife approaches retirement.

Far-off-in-the-future social security benefits are not typically addressed in divorces, and many people are confused about or ignorant of their eventual entitlement.

Wife lets it be known that she is contemplating seeking to collect social security benefits by claiming through Husband.

Husband opposes.

But Wife can do this, even all these years later, even though this was not spelled out in Wife’s and Husband’s divorce.

Under federal law, a spouse who was married for at least ten years to someone who earned social security benefits, may claim social security benefits based on their former spouse’s rights – provided the claiming spouse did not remarry.

The claiming spouse’s benefits do not diminish the benefits that will be paid to the earning spouse.

Read more in this Philadelphia Daily News finance column: Harry Gross: His ex-wife can benefit from his SS.