Social Security gets its fair share of criticism -- it doesn't pay seniors enough, its raises are paltry, and its rules are complex. But one good thing about Social Security is that it takes care of people who spent a lifetime raising a family and therefore never had an opportunity to work.

If you fall into that category, you should know that once you're older, you may be entitled to income from Social Security in the form of spousal benefits. But spousal benefits don't work exactly like regular benefits. Here are a few key things to know if you're planning to collect benefits based on a spouse or former spouse's earnings record.

Spousal benefits are available to people who are both married to and divorced from people who are entitled to a benefit of their own. But regardless of which category you fall into, the most you can collect is half of what your spouse collects. If your spouse's benefit comes to $1,800, you'll be entitled to $900.

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