Divorce and Social Security Benefits

Divorce and Social Security Benefits

Divorce Decree
You may still qualify for social security benefits even if you get a divorce.

If you and your spouse have been collecting Social Security benefits through your spouse, then you might be wondering what will happen to those benefits if you get a divorce. It can get a little bit complicated. However, there’s a good chance that you can still collect benefits even after you’ve divorced your spouse.

Collecting Social Security Benefits If You Get a Divorce

The SSA will first consider if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. But even then, there are a few other things that factor into your ability to continue receiving benefits, including:

  • You must not be in a marriage. Once you remarry, you can no longer collect Social Security benefits based through your ex-spouse.
  • You must be 62 or older.
  • Your ex-spouse is still able to receive Social Security retirement benefits or disability benefits.
  • The benefits you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work will exceed any benefits  based on your own work.

You will still be able to collect benefits through your ex-spouse even if they end up remarrying. Additionally, if the ex-spouse has not begun to collect their benefits, you can still take your part of them. This is true as long as you’ve been divorced for at least two years.

Additionally, if you care for the child or children of your ex-spouse, you could receive partial benefits. You must naturally have had the child or legally adopted them. 

How Much Can You Collect?

The amount you can collect depends on a number of different factors, including how much your ex-spouse actually qualifies for. If you have reached full retirement age (which is 66 for those that were born between 1943 and 1954, and will be 67 for those born after 1960), then you will be eligible to collect payments that are equal to 50 percent of what your ex-spouse will get.

However, if you decide to begin taking benefits before you reach your retirement age, then your benefits will be permanently reduced. Your earnings may also reduce your benefit amount if they exceed the yearly earnings limit.

The way it works is that the Social Security Administration will reduce your benefits by $1 for every $2 you earn above the annual limit if you are under full retirement age for that entire year. If you are collecting benefits in the year you reach full retirement age, they will reduce your benefits by $1 for every $3 you earn above the limit (which will differ from the other limit).

More About SSDA USA

To find out more information about whether you can collect Social Security benefits if you get a divorce, be sure to call 602-952-3200 at any time of the day, any day of the week, for a free consultation with our Social Security Disability Advocates.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a representative-client relationship.

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