How to Collect Social Security Benefits from Your Ex-Spouse in New Jersey

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In New Jersey, you may be eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse's record if you meet certain criteria. Here are some key points to consider:

Marriage Duration: You must have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years.

Divorced for at Least Two Years: Typically, you must be divorced for at least two continuous years before applying for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse's record. There are exceptions if you are caring for your ex-spouse's child who is under age 16 or disabled.

Eligibility of Your Ex-Spouse: Your ex-spouse must be eligible for Social Security benefits. It's important to note that your ex-spouse does not have to apply for benefits for you to qualify on their record.

Your Own Benefit Amount: If you are eligible for a higher Social Security benefit based on your own work record, you will receive your own benefit. However, if your ex-spouse's benefit is higher, you may receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.

Remarriage: If you remarry, you will generally not be eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment).

Age Requirement: You must be at least 62 years old to apply for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse's record. However, if you are caring for your ex-spouse's child who is under age 16 or disabled, there is no age requirement.

Timing of Application: You can apply for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse's record as early as age 62. However, if you choose to start receiving benefits before your full retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced. If you wait until your full retirement age or later, you may be eligible for a higher benefit amount.

Full Retirement Age (FRA): Your full retirement age is the age at which you can receive your full Social Security retirement benefit. FRA varies depending on your year of birth. For example, if you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67.

Survivor Benefits: If your ex-spouse passes away, you may be eligible for survivor benefits on their record. The eligibility criteria for survivor benefits may differ from those for divorced spouse benefits. If your ex-spouse is deceased, you can contact the Social Security Administration to inquire about potential survivor benefits.

Documentation: When applying for benefits based on your ex-spouse's record, you will likely need to provide documentation such as your marriage certificate, divorce decree, and other relevant records. Be prepared to furnish these documents to the Social Security Administration to support your claim.

Social Security Office Assistance: If you have questions or need assistance with the application process, you can contact your local Social Security office or call the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. The SSA's website also provides valuable information and resources.

To apply for benefits, you can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or visit their website. Keep in mind that Social Security rules and regulations may change, rules can be complex, and individual circumstances vary. For personalized advice regarding your specific situation, it's recommended to consult with a financial advisor or contact the Social Security Administration directly. They can provide guidance tailored to your circumstances and help you understand the potential benefits available to you based on your ex-spouse's Social Security record.

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