Divorce Information

Social Security Benefits and New York State Divorce Law

If your marriage lasted at least ten years, you can claim social security benefits on the earnings history of your former husband or wife.

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Those benefits you are entitled to receive are important especially when there is a large disparity in income and you are the less monied spouse. The social security benefit is calculated as 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefits.

If you are the monied spouse, then you would apply for your own social security benefit as you can get 100% of that amount.

Let’s say you elect to collect your former spouse’s social security-that does not reduce the amount that your former spouse will get either. These are referred to as derivative benefits and they will not even affect, what his current spouse might receive. So everyone wins in that situation.

For instance, all former spouses may collect benefits so long as each marriage was a minimum of ten year periods of time.

So you might ask what happens if your former spouse dies? Now you can collect 100% of his social security check, not just 50%. A lot of New York residents do not know this but while going through a divorce it is very important since you might not want to file for divorce if your marriage is under ten years.

When you file for benefits be sure to alert social security as to how many years you were married last. The Social Security agency will calculate your benefit for you based upon the above rues. However, all rules are subject to change so be sure to consult with your New York divorce lawyer before you file for divorce or social security.

Lisa Beth Older, a New York Divorce Lawyer and a New York child custody lawyer serves the following locations: New York City, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, New York, and Westchester County.


Warning: The information contained herein is not intended to substitute for legal advice from your own retained lawyer in new york state. This article is merely informational in nature, and is based upon one attorney’s knowledge of the practice of family law, matrimonial law, domestic violence, child custody, child support and orders of protection.


Retain counsel before you do anything to affect your marital status and follow the advice of the lawyer you retain, not what is written herein.