When it comes to social security benefits and divorce, things have a way of becoming complicated quickly. Many divorced spouses wonder whether they are entitled to their ex-spouse’s social security benefits, especially if the amount is greater than the benefits they would receive on their own. Read on to learn more.
The Social Security Administration Defines Eligibility
The Social Security Administration shares that, even if your former spouse has remarried, you are eligible to receive benefits on his or her Social Security record as long as all of the following apply:
- You were married for at least ten years.
- You are not married now.
- You are at least 62 years old.
- Your ex is currently entitled to receive Social Security benefits.
- The amount you are slated to receive based on your own work record is less than the amount you would receive based on your ex’s record.
If you qualify to receive benefits on your ex-spouse's Social Security account, you will receive an amount that is equal to half of your ex's full retirement benefits as long as you do not begin receiving the benefits until you reach your full retirement age. Your benefits, however, will not reflect any increases your ex may receive as a result of delayed retirement credits. Further, if your ex has not applied to receive his or her retirement benefits, it does not preclude you from doing so on his or her record as long as your divorce was finalized at least two years prior.
If You Remarry
Generally, if you remarry, you cannot collect Social Security Benefits on your ex’s record, unless this intervening marriage ends – as a result of divorce or death. In fact, the Social Security Administration will allow you to choose to receive the highest benefits from among your prior spouses (if more than one fits all the requirements).
If Your Circumstances Change Further
Not surprisingly, changes in your situation can result in some complicated scenarios. For example, if you are entitled to your first spouse's Social Security benefits and are divorced from your second spouse when he or she dies, you can switch from your spousal benefits with your first spouse to survivors' benefits on your second spouse's account. Survivors' benefits amount to 100 percent of that spouse's benefits (if you have reached full retirement age). Things only become more complicated from here.
It Is Time to Consult with a Dedicated Attorney
Social Security Benefits are an important financial component of your future, and you may be entitled to increased benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an experienced family law attorney who is committed to helping you maximize your Social Security Benefits by taking full advantage of every legal opportunity at your disposal. Mr. Pritchard is here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.