Social Security: The Surprising Benefit Divorced Spouses Can Get

Ex-spouses are often surprised at being able to claim this Social Security benefit. Find out about it.

May 3, 2014 at 8:15AM

Divorce forces you to separate your finances from those of your ex-spouse. But with Social Security, if you were married for 10 years or more, you can often get spousal and survivor benefits based on your ex-spouse's work history.

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Denise, who asks where she stands on Social Security if her ex-husband of 15 years were to die. Dan notes that since Denise was married for at least 10 years, she can claim both spousal benefits while her ex-husband is alive and survivor benefits after his death. In addition, Dan notes that Denise's benefit will be based on when she chooses to take spousal benefits, with a reduction if she claims early. Dan warns, though, that if Denise remarries while her husband is still alive, then she'll lose the right to collect spousal benefits, and goes into the more complicated rules governing remarriage after an ex-spouse's death that depend on whether she remarries before or after age 60.

How to get even more income during retirement
Social Security plays a key role in your financial security, but it's not the only way to boost your retirement income. In our brand-new free report, our retirement experts give their insight on a simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule that can help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to SocialSecurity@fool.com, and they might be the subject of a future video!

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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