How Are Social Security Benefits Handled After a Divorce?
I have been doing a lot of consultations recently with older couples who are considering divorce. Naturally, they tend to have a lot of questions about how Social Security benefits are handled after a divorce.
If your ex spouse’s Social Security benefit are larger than yours, then you may be interested and entitled to collect from theirs. The criteria to do so are as follows:
- You must have been married to your ex spouse for 10 years or longer to qualify to receive their benefits.
- You must not currently be married.
- For example, if you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your second marriage ends either through death, divorce or an annulment.
- If you remarried and your second spouse is deceased, then you qualify to claim benefits from either your first spouse or your second spouse, not both.
- If you collect from your first spouse, remember, you must have been married for at least 10 years.
- If you collect from your second spouse, you must have been married at least nine months to your second spouse.
- You must be 62 years old or older to begin collecting.
- If your ex spouse has died, you can collect at age 60 as a surviving divorce spouse.
- If your ex is deceased, and you are disabled, then you can collect at age 50.
- If you are the older spouse, you do not have to wait for your ex spouse to start collecting his or her benefits before you can collect on theirs.
- If you are the younger spouse, you may qualify for benefits, but you must be age 62 or older before you can start receiving the benefits if you have been divorced for two or more years.
- You can receive 50% of your ex spouse’s Social Security benefits if they are still alive.
- If your ex spouse has remarried and his or her new spouse is collecting on their benefits, that does not take away from your benefits. You can still collect 50% of your ex spouse’s Social Security benefits even though he or she may have remarried and their new spouse is collecting on that benefit as well.
- If your ex spouse has died before you, you can collect 100% of their benefits.
It is important to note, however, that you must apply in order to receive your ex spouse’s social security benefits, it doesn’t automatically just happen. You must contact the Social Security Administration Office. Let them know that you are eligible and ready to begin collecting on your ex spouse’s Social Security benefits.
I hope that this has helped to guide you as to what to look for, what questions to ask, and how to qualify for the benefits of your ex spouse’s Social Security. If you have additional questions regarding this or other topics involving divorce, do not hesitate to reach out to our office to discuss your specific situation with an experienced family law attorney. We can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a phone or in-person consultation online.