Can I keep my share of Social Security from my ex?October 26, 2011: 11:32 AM ET
I haven't seen or heard from my ex-husband since 1981. Can I keep the spousal share of my Social Security away from him? Yes, it's petty, but I just don't want him mooching off me. —B.H., Indiana
Sorry to disappoint you, but if the two of you were married for 10 years or more, your ex-husband can receive benefits based on your work record, so long as he's unmarried (and even if he married and divorced again). It's his choice whether to collect benefits based on your work record or his own.
The good news: His benefits have no effect on money you receive. Plus, you can contact Social Security (you don't have to track your ex down) to find out if you could benefit from collecting money based on his employment record.
-- Daniel Bortz
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