Divorce & Social Security

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

If you had to rank a few things people dislike, taxes, death, retirement and divorce would be high on the list. However, there are a few major things about divorce you should be aware of. Social Security benefits for instance.

As MarketWatch reports, there are a lot of factors which need to be taken into account when making divorce decisions; especially social security benefits.

Marcus Dillender, an economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and author of Social Security and Divorce Decisions, notes, people should be aware of the fact that Social Security provides spousal benefits to divorced people if their marriages lasted at least 10 years.

“For people planning on divorcing around the 10-year mark of a marriage, Dillender said, waiting a few months may result in higher Social Security payments if their spouses’ earnings records are higher than their own.”

I’ve written about retirement and divorce issues before. According to the Social Security Administration, even if you are divorced, you can receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record (even if your ex-spouse has remarried) if:

– Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;

– You are not married;

– Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older;

– The benefit that you are entitled to receive as an ex-spouse, is greater than the benefit you would receive based on your own work record; and

– You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

Collecting ex-spousal benefits does not affect the ex’s benefit or that of their current spouse if remarried. Also, unlike spousal benefits, both ex-spouses can collect this benefit off the other’s record at the same time.

Are you Entitled to Your Ex-Spouse’s Benefits?

In certain situations, if you have been divorced at least two years, you are “independently entitled” to ex-spouse benefits. This means that even though your ex-spouse may not yet have applied for benefits, but can qualify for them, you are eligible and can receive ex-spouse benefits.

For people between the ages of 35 and 55 – a group which accounts for more than half of divorces – the likelihood of being divorced increases by almost 6% as marriages cross the 10-year mark.

Not all spouses are aware of how Social Security works with respect to marriage, divorce, death and remarriage. But they should be.

The article in MarketWatch can be read here.