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Ask the Retirement Expert: If I Was a Stay-at-Home Mom, Do I Qualify for My Ex-husband’s Spousal Benefit?

Craig Volk, RICP® •  May 27, 2016 | Focus on Women, Your Finances, Ask the Expert

By Craig Volk

In April of 2000, Craig began his career with Northwestern Mutual. As a Wealth Management Advisor and Retirement Planning Specialist, Craig’s practice focuses on an integrated planning approach involving retirement distribution planning, investment management and wealth distribution.

Each week our Northwestern Mutual retirement experts answer your questions. This week’s question:

I stayed home to raise my children during my 14-year marriage to my ex-husband. I am now divorced. Do I qualify for his Social Security Spousal benefit?

Yes. As long as you were married for at least 10 years, have not remarried and have been divorced for at least two years, you can claim on your ex-husband’s record. You are entitled to 50 percent of his benefit at Full Retirement Age (FRA)—assuming it’s higher than yours. Your spouse won’t even know that you’ve claimed on his record.

You can claim as soon as you’re 62 (your ex must also be at least 62). But if you claim at 62, your benefit will be reduced. A financial professional can help you better understand how the timing of when you claim fits into your overall financial plan.

If you want to learn more about how to maximize your Social Security Benefit, download our free guide: “Social Security Simplified: Select the Right Options to Help Maximize Your Income.”

Do you have a question for our Northwestern Mutual retirement experts? Click here to send your questions.


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