Social Security Benefits In a Divorce

P5-a9fb7The well known fact is that Divorced spouses are entitled to social security benefits based on the their ex-spouse’s salary history.
The lesser known fact is when can that spouse receive the benefits and how much can they receive.

  • FACT #1: CRITERIA FOR BENEFITS – If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried). You cannot be married at the time of retirement, you are age 62 or older, your ex-spouse is entitled to social security benefits or disability benefits and the benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.
  • FACT #2: WHEN CAN I START RECEIVING BENEFITS? – If you match the criteria specified above, you can start receiving benefits when YOU reach age 62 and not your ex-spouse. However, the amount you receive is not equal to half of your ex-spouse benefits until you reach the age of 67. Also, you must be divorced for a minimum of 2 years.
  • FACT #3: HOW MUCH CAN I RECEIVE? – The amount you receive depends on when you start taking the benefit. The lowest amount you could receive is 32.5% of your ex-spouse’s benefit when you are age 62. The percentage increases each month you delay taking benefits until you reach age 67 and then the amount you receive is 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefit.
  • FACT #4: WHAT IF YOU ARE DIVORCED MORE THAN ONCE? – If you are divorced a second time, you can still collect benefits from the first spouse. If you are married at the age of retirement, you cannot receive benefits. This fact is also true if you are a widow or your marriage was annulled. You would receive the higher benefit from either the first or the second spouse.
  • FACT #5: Your ex-spouse’s benefits are not effected by the amount you receive.
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