Divorced Spousal Beneficiaries in 2050Methodology »
Released: August 2021
Next expected update: 2023
DEFINITION: Divorced spousal beneficiaries are individuals receiving all or part of their Social Security retirement or disability benefits from their ex-spouses' earnings records. Individuals are eligible for divorced spousal benefits if their marriage to their ex-spouse lasted for at least 10 years. This group includes spousal-only beneficiaries, who receive benefits based only on their ex-spouses' earnings record, and dually entitled spousal beneficiaries, who also receive benefits based on their own earnings record.
In 2050, we project that:
- About three-fifths of 1 percent of all beneficiaries aged 62 or older will be divorced spousal beneficiaries. a
- More than 80 percent of divorced spousal beneficiaries aged 62 or older will be women.
- The poverty rate will be higher for divorced spousal beneficiaries compared with all beneficiaries aged 62 or older.
- Divorced spousal beneficiaries will be disproportionately in low-earning households.
- At the median, divorced spousal beneficiaries will have earned fewer credits than all beneficiaries aged 62 or older. However, only the dually entitled divorced spousal beneficiaries will have earned enough credits to also qualify for benefits on their own records. b
|Characteristic||Divorced spousal beneficiaries aged 62 or older||Beneficiaries aged 62 or older|
|Number of beneficiaries||484,000||82.3 million|
|All other races||14%||8%|
|Below 100% of the poverty threshold|
|Lifetime shared earnings quintile||Percentage of divorced spousal beneficiaries aged 62 or older in quintile|
|Lifetime shared earnings quintile||Divorced spousal beneficiaries aged 62 or older||Beneficiaries aged 62 or older|
a. Divorced spousal beneficiaries will have been married to their ex-spouse, at the median, for 22 years (22 years for women and 20 years for men).
b. To be fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits, a worker must have at least 10 years (or 40 credits) of earnings.
SOURCE: Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 8 (MINT8) microsimulation model using 2019 Trustees Report intermediate assumptions.