When it comes to taking social security, there are a few benefits you should be aware of, including those extended to spouses. In 1939, the Social Security Administration changed the way benefits are offered to better provide for families. One of those changes was the creation of what is known as “spousal benefits.” This benefit allows spouses to collect the higher of their own benefit or 50% of their spouse’s benefit. This benefit remains available if you are divorced, as long as you were married for at least 10 years, and as long as you do not remarry (it does not matter if your spouse remarries). Once you remarry, you become eligible to claim spousal benefits based on your new spouse’s benefit after a period of time.
In addition to the spousal benefit, surviving spouse’s are also eligible for 100% of their deceased spouse’s benefit. The survivor benefit also applies to ex-spouses with the same specifications mentioned above (you must have been married ten years and cannot have remarried). If you’re unsure of whether or not you’re eligible for these benefits, the easiest way to find out is to contact the Social Security Administration.
*a version of this article first appeared on our sister site, galsguidetomoney.com, on July 19, 2018.