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How getting married can mess up your Social Security

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You may want to rethink that second walk down the aisle if you are approaching retirement, and counting on income from Social Security.

data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

To be eligible to claim on your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, whereby you receive half of their benefit amount, you must have been married at least 10 years and be at least 62 years of age.

You have the ability to choose between your own Social Security benefit or your ex-spouse’s. Once you remarry, however, that choice is gone.

“This is where it pays to live in sin,” Francis said. “If you get remarried, generally you can’t collect on the benefits of your former spouse.”

That changes if your second marriage ends because you get divorced, the marriage is annulled or your second spouse passes away.

At that point, if you were married to each spouse for 10 years or longer, you can choose between the two spouses’ benefits, Francis said.

The benefit amounts do not change if more than one ex-spouse claims on one individual’s records. Francis said she knows of one man whose four ex-wives were all eligible for the same spousal benefits on his record.

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Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C. Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com. Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

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