Can Your Husband’s Ex Take His Social Security in 2024? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Joanne R. asks Money Talks News:

“My husband was married to his first wife for 10 years. His ex-wife remarried and divorced twice since. She is collecting spousal benefits on my husband’s Social Security record. I thought if a person remarried, they were not eligible to collect on the first spouse’s record. What is correct?”


Typically, a remarried individual cannot claim Social Security benefits based on their ex-spouse’s earnings record and receive what are often referred to as “divorced spousal benefits” or “ex-spousal benefits.” However, there is an exception to this rule for individuals who have remarried and subsequently divorced again, leaving them currently unmarried.

If your husband’s ex-wife was still married to one of her subsequent spouses, she would not be able to receive benefits based on your husband’s record. However, if her second and third marriages have ended—whether through divorce, annulment, or death—she could be eligible to receive divorced spousal benefits based on her first husband’s record.

One of the requirements for receiving divorced spousal benefits is that the marriage to the ex-spouse lasted for 10 or more years. It seems that your husband’s ex-wife meets this requirement, making her eligible to receive benefits based on his record.

Since her subsequent marriages ended and her marriage to your husband lasted at least 10 years, she was able to apply for and receive divorced spousal benefits on his record. The amount of these benefits would be up to 50% of his full benefit amount.

Most likely, she claimed divorced spousal benefits because the amount was higher than the benefit she would have received based on her own earnings record—her own retirement benefit amount.

While it may be uncomfortable for you or your spouse to accept or discuss, his ex-wife was not required to notify him or ask for his permission when claiming divorced spousal benefits based on his earnings record.

The good news is that even though she is collecting benefits based on your husband’s record, it does not reduce or otherwise affect his Social Security benefit amount.

To learn more about divorced spousal benefits, visit  Social Securitry Adminstration website.

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MBS Staff
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