You, Your Ex, and Your Social Security Benefits

If I’m married, can I collect Social Security based on either my Social Security contributions or my spouse’s contributions?

Yes. A married person can collect Social Security benefits based on either (1) that individual’s employment contributions to the Social Security system or (2) his or her spouse’s contribution record. Benefits paid to one spouse based on the other’s contribution record are called “derivative” or “spousal” benefits. The contributing spouse’s benefit will not decrease as a result of the spousal benefits.

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