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Social Security: Can You Double Up on Spousal Benefits?

Of all the issues related to Social Security, few are as complicated as the rules surrounding marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In fact, if you weren't careful about reading them, you'd be excused for thinking that some people are able to double up on their spousal benefits.

The confusion stems from how the Social Security Administration handles spousal benefits following a divorce. Namely, so long as you were married for at least 10 years to a former spouse, then you're entitled to Social Security benefits based on their work history.

With this in mind, it doesn't take much imagination to see how someone could qualify for spousal benefits from multiple prior marriages, all of which lasted 10 years or longer. But as Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield discusses in the video below, this doesn't mean you can double up on benefits. It instead merely gives you an option of which spousal benefits to choose.

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  • Report this Comment On July 27, 2014, at 5:43 PM, gadfly1000 wrote:

    You can't RECEIVE benefits from more than one marriage, but multiple former spouses (up to five) can receive benefits from you.

    Also, if you divorce and are both at full retirement age, you can BOTH file and suspend, receive spouse benefits and let your own retirement amount grow until age 70.

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John Maxfield
JohnMaxfield37

John has been writing for The Motley Fool since 2011. As a senior banking analyst, he covers the financial industry and the nation's largest banks in particular. He has a bachelor's degree in economics from Lewis and Clark College and a juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University. He's a licensed attorney in the state of Oregon, and resides in Portland with his wife and twin sons. View John Maxfield's profile on LinkedIn

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