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Social Security Benefits & Divorce

You always are entitled to a benefit calculated on your own record. In addition, you are entitled to claim a spousal benefit (on your ex’s social security record) to the extent that your benefit calculated on your ex-s record exceeds your own benefit.

No. You only get the spousal benefit on the record of the ex with the highest benefit rate.

No. A married person must wait until their spouse has actually signed up for social security. But divorced spouses are not subject to that rule. However, the ex has to be old enough to be eligible for benefits, essentially, 62 years old.  The ex just doesn’t have to be on the Social Security’s books as a current beneficiary.

If you ex dies when you are under age 66, you are entitled to the same widows option that would be available to a married woman. That means you can start benefits on one record and later switch to higher benefits on the other record. For example, if you are not working, you could take the divorced widows benefits as early as age 60 (about 71%). You can then switch to 100% of your own social security benefit at age 66. You could also wait until you reach age 70 and collect 132% of your own benefit. Or, instead of claiming benefits at age 60, you could wait until your full retirement age and collect 100% of your ex’s social security. Regardless, that amounts to a lot of extra benefits!

Just remember, if you are under age 66 and working, social security deducts $1.00 of benefits for every $2.00 you earn in excess of $18,240 annually.

Not likely. The Social Security Administration does not keep track of this information.

So let be a word to the wise. Once you are divorced, you may be all too ready to forget about your ex. But, you do so only at the risk of losing out on potentially valuable benefits.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended to just highlight these guidelines. There are detailed regulations concerning each person’s eligibility. Please check with your tax advisor and/or the Social Security Administration regarding your specific situation.

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McCarthy Family Law is a full service family law firm that services all family law issues. If you are going through a divorce or have questions about filing for divorce, we are here to assist you. Please call us at 520-623-0341 to explore your options. Turning Stress Into Solutions®.