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Social Security: Can an Ex-Spouse Reduce Your Monthly Benefits?

By John Maxfield – Jul 6, 2014 at 9:08AM

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In most cases, the answer to this is no.

Recently, a reader emailed a question about whether his ex-wife can claim Social Security spousal benefits based on his work history. If she could, furthermore, he wanted to know if her doing so would reduce his own retirement benefits.

As Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield explains in the following video, the answer to the first question is "yes." Under the current rules, the Social Security Administration allows spousal benefits for divorced spouses, so long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years and the ex-spouse seeking benefits isn't currently remarried.

Alternatively, the answer to the second question is "no." This is because the spousal benefit to an ex has absolutely no bearing on the size of the wage earner's own benefit. For that matter, moreover, it also doesn't have any bearing on the spousal benefits of the wage earner's current spouse -- if one is in the picture, that is.

To learn more about this, check out the video.

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