Can I Collect Social Security From My Ex?

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While getting a divorce is almost always painful and stressful, no matter your age, marriages that fall apart later in life are much more challenging to recover from financially and emotionally compared to when you were younger. When you’re younger, you have more time and opportunity to earn money. However, you may not have as much time to make money if you’re older or retired. Being financially dependent on your spouse can leave you unsure of how you’ll make ends meet. Fortunately, you may be eligible to collect Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse. Please continue reading to learn when you qualify and how an experienced Suffolk County Divorce & Separation Attorney can help guide you through these complex times. 

Are My Ex-Spouse’s Benefits Subject to Equitable Distribution?

In New York, it’s crucial to understand how assets and debts are distributed during a divorce. When it comes to property division, the state follows equitable distribution laws. This means that if the parties cannot agree on how to divide their assets, a judge will do so, considering several factors to ensure a fair, but not necessarily equal, distribution of assets acquired during the marriage.

Social Security is not divided like other retirement funds. Pensions and retirement accounts are typically split according to equitable distribution rules when a couple gets divorced. Social Security is considered a separate property and thus will not be divided between divorcing parties. However, a dependent spouse may have derivative rights to Social Security payments. In some circumstances

When Can You Collect an Ex-Spouse’s Social Security Benefits?

Generally, to collect Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse, you must meet the following requirements:

  • The marriage must have lasted for ten years or more
  • You must be at least 62 years old
  • You cannot currently be married
  • Your ex-spouse must be eligible to recover social security benefits

You can claim half of the payment if your ex-spouse has Social Security benefits. This means you could receive 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefits. It’s important to note that when you reach retirement age, you cannot collect your and your spouse’s benefits. Instead, you would be entitled to receive whichever one is higher. In addition, if your ex-spouse dies, you may be eligible for survivor benefits, which are 100% of the Social Security retirement benefits.

If a divorce is imminent, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted Suffolk County divorce & separation attorney, who can help you fight for the best possible outcome for your circumstances. At The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., we understand how complex these matters can be. Connect with us today to learn how we can help protect your rights and interests.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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