When you work in a California professional role covered by Social Security for long enough, you become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits once you hit retirement age. However, if you do not have enough of a work history to qualify for these benefits, but were in a marriage with someone who does, you may have another option available.
According to CNBC, about 30% of Americans are not aware that they may be able to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits using the work record of a former husband or wife.
How to qualify
If your former husband or wife has enough of a work history to qualify for these benefits, your marriage then had to last a certain length for you to be eligible to collect them using his or her earnings record. As long as your marriage to this individual lasted, at least 10 years, you may collect Social Security retirement benefits using your ex’s work history once you both reach retirement age.
How much you might collect
There are limits to how much you may collect in Social Security retirement benefits using the earnings record of an ex-spouse. The most you may collect each month is half of how much your former spouse takes home. Thus, if you also qualify for Social Security retirement benefits without your spouse’s help, it may prove helpful for you to figure out how much you would get using your own earnings history and then compare the two amounts.
Your former husband or wife should not take issue with you collecting these benefits using his or her name. Your doing so does not take anything away from how much your ex takes home each month.