In many Michigan marriages, one person significantly outearns the other. This is especially the case when one person opted to remain at home to raise a family or traveled extensively with their spouse to stay together. If the marriage ends, however, it can put that person at an economic disadvantage. Even so, for spouses who remained married for 10 years or more, they may become entitled to a bigger monthly paycheck after 62 years old.

According to the Social Security Administration, to qualify, the individual must meet the following criteria:

  • The ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits
  • The individual would be entitled to lower payments based on their own work history
  • The individual is at or over the age of 62
  • The individual is unmarried

A person may qualify for benefits even if their spouse did not apply for them, as long as they have already been divorced for two or more years. Note that when people remarry, they may temporarily disqualify themselves from this benefit. If that marriage later ends for any reason, then the person may once again qualify for claims on their ex’s SS checks.

According to CNBC, many people do not know that their past marriage made them eligible. Because of this, the benefit often remains unclaimed. With roughly 90% of Americans relying on Social Security benefits checks to make ends meet, qualifying for an even larger payment may help to make things easier.

The news agency also notes that it may be better to wait until retirement age to make a claim even though eligibility starts at 62. This is because early claims may lower the overall monthly payments. However, there are no known benefits for delaying beyond 66 years old.