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How a person may draw on an ex-spouse's Social Security

Maryland couples who are getting a divorce might not realize that when they reach their 60s, they may still be able to draw Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse's work record. This may be a possibility if a person's own Social Security benefits would be less than what they would receive based on their spouse's record. A person can draw up to 50 percent of the their spouse's total benefits. This has no effect on what the former spouse receives.

The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years, and the person who begins drawing benefits must be unmarried at the time. As long as it has been at least two years since the divorce, a person can begin drawing on their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits before the other party has done so. They can still draw benefits on their former spouse's income if they remarried but that marriage ended in divorce or death.

It is possibly to begin drawing a permanently reduced benefit on a spouse's income at the age of 62. Full retirement age is 67 for people born in 1960 or later and is 66 years or 66 years and a certain number of months for people born in previous years.

Social Security benefits are not the only ones people who are ending their marriage may be able to depend upon when they retire. They may also receive a portion of their spouse's retirement account. It is important to understand how to avoid fees and penalties when dividing these types of accounts. People should also understand their value. For example, at the end of a marriage, a person might decide they would rather keep the family home than their share of the retirement account, but the retirement account may offer more financial security.

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