North Carolina residents who are at or near the age of retirement may be aware of the way in which their marital status affects their possible Social Security payments. There are circumstances under which the benefits derived from the other spouse’s Social Security earnings history are greater than they would be for the spouse directly. For example, if the other spouse earned much more during the term of the marriage, then the spousal benefits could exceed what they would have earned alone. This may also be true after a divorce.
A marriage that lasted longer than 10 years might render the ex-spouse eligible to receive spousal benefits after the divorce. The claimant must be able to prove that the marriage lasted this amount of time by producing both a marriage decree and a divorce certificate. No claim may be made for spousal benefits until people have been divorced for at least two years.