Divorce at any age is difficult, but if you are divorcing later in life, you likely face additional financial concerns. One of these concerns is your Social Security benefits. Social Security is probably an essential element of your retirement, and you no doubt have questions about how divorce will affect your benefits. Understanding the basics can help.
Unless you were married for at least 10 years, you will not be able to draw Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse's work record, and your ex-spouse will not be able to draw on yours. Regardless of when your marriage ended in divorce, if you were married for at least 10 years, either of you is entitled to collect on the other’s benefits. To begin collecting Social Security benefits as an ex-spouse, there are several important requirements, including:
- Both you and your ex must be at least 62 years old.
- Your divorce must have been finalized at least two years prior.
- Your ex’s benefits must be higher than the benefits you would receive based on your own employment history.
If you are eligible to collect on your ex’s Social Security benefits and you have reached your full retirement age (currently between 66 and 67 years), your benefits will amount to 50 percent of what your ex will (or does) receive at full retirement age. While you are entitled to claim your benefits before you reach your full retirement age, you will not receive the full 50 percent of your ex’s benefits. Receiving benefits under the umbrella of your ex’s social security account will not affect the amount of benefits your ex receives.
If You Remarry
If you have remarried since your divorce, you are no longer eligible to collect on your ex’s Social Security benefits because you are no longer an ex-spouse for the purposes of Social Security. Regardless of who has higher benefits – your ex or your current spouse – you are only entitled to collect on your current spouse’s benefits. If, on the other hand, you are divorced from your second spouse or your second spouse has died, you are eligible to collect on that former spouse with the highest benefits.
It Is Complicated
Like anything else that has to do with taxes and the federal government, collecting on Social Security benefits is complicated. The decisions you initially make are not reversible. As such, being well informed is critical. Working closely with a Killeen divorce lawyer who has considerable experience with Social Security benefits will help you move forward with confidence.
Facing a Divorce? Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today.
Divorce significantly affects your finances, and your future Social Security benefits are likely to be an important consideration. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, understands your concerns and is committed to helping you protect your post-divorce finances. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at (254) 220-4225 today.