Many people wonder what happens to their Social Security benefits after a divorce and if they are still entitled to part of their spouse’s Social Security. The Social Security Administration has set rules for how this type of income is handled after a divorce.
If you were married for 10 years or more, you can receive Social Security benefits through your spouse if the all of the following conditions are met:
- You are age 62 or older
- You are unmarried (if you remarried but are now divorced or widowed from that second marriage, you are eligible)
- Your ex qualifies to collect Social Security retirement or disability (SSD)
- The amount of Social Security you would receive based on your own work record is less than the amount you would receive through your spouse.
If you meet these conditions, you can get up to one half of the amount your spouse is entitled to. If you are eligible for your own benefits based on your own work record, but your ex’s benefits are higher, the Social Security Administration will pay your earned benefit first then add additional funds based on your ex’s benefits. If your ex is eligible for payments but hasn’t applied, you can apply once you have been divorced for two years.
An important fact that you and your ex should keep in mind is that any payments you receive do not in any way reduce the payments your ex receives. Your ex gets the full Social Security retirement payments whether you are paid or not. If your ex remarried after your divorce, that later spouse is also entitled to receive payments and that right is not affected by any payments you receive.
If you are the spouse with a higher Social Security retirement payment then your ex can collect through you and all of the same rules apply to him or her.
DeTorres & DeGeorge is ready to help you make sense of all the retirement issues involved with your divorce in Annandale, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Call us today at 908-284-6005 to schedule a time to discuss your case.