When Receiving Social Security Benefits at Age 62 Can I Get My Ex-Spouse's Amount?

by Rod Howell

    As an ex-spouse, you can get Social Security benefits from your former husband or wife’s work record. The Social Security Administration generally treats you similar to a current spouse regarding eligibility requirements and spousal benefit amounts. However, at age 62, you’re early for most spousal benefits, which makes a difference in how much you’ll get.

    At age 62, you’re eligible to get your ex-spouse’s disability or retirement benefits. You must be unmarried at the time of filing and had been married to your former spouse for at least 10 years. If you’re eligible for equal or higher benefits on your own record, you’re not entitled to your ex-spouse’s.

    You must be at least 60 years old to get survivors benefits. However, if you’re taking care of your ex-spouse’s children, you can get benefits at any age. You had to have been married to your ex for at least 10 years, but the agency will still pay you benefits if your marriage didn’t last that long if you’re taking care of his or her children. Unlike with the disability and retirement programs, you can remarry after age 60 and still collect benefits from your previous marriage.

    If your ex-spouse is getting disability benefits, you’re entitled to half of his or her benefit amount. You are also entitled to half of the retirement benefits, but at age 62 you won’t receive that much. In fact, at age 62 your benefits are less than the full amount you would get at full retirement age, which is based on your birth year. Under the survivors program, your age decreases the amount you’re getting to between 71.5 percent to 99 percent of your deceased ex-spouse’s entitled benefit.

    A government pension can diminish your spousal benefit amounts. If you’re receiving a pension from a government job you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, the government reduces your benefits by about two-thirds of your pension amount. For example, if you’re getting $1,500 per month from your pension, your spousal benefits are reduced by $1,000.

    You don’t have to quit your job if you’re eligible for your ex-spouse’s benefits. You can work and get benefits at the same time. However, at age 62, there are limits to how much you can make before your benefits are reduced or terminated. Also, if your earned income combined with your benefits exceeds the Internal Revenue Service’s guidelines, your tax-free benefits become taxable compensation.

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    About the Author

    Rod Howell is a writer living in Charlotte, N.C. He graduated from Thaddeus Stevens College with an associate degree in administration in 2000. He published the book "Capitol Conspiracy" and regularly contributes to a blog as well as various other websites, drawing frequently from his experience as an insurance agent.

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