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Getting Social Security Benefits After Divorce

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A divorce can leave you struggling financially and you may be concerned about your financial future, especially as you near retirement. If you feel your retirement is going to be rather bleak, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel: Social Security benefits.

But what if you didn’t work much during your marriage and your benefits are minimal? Under certain circumstances, you may be able to claim your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits. However, there are some requirements to keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Qualify 

To receive your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits.
  • Your ex-spouse’s benefit is greater than your benefit (you can’t take both).
  • You are not currently married (or you remarried and were at least 60 years old at the time of the remarriage).

What to Know

If your ex-spouse is not currently receiving Social Security benefits, then your divorce needs to be finalized for two years before you can take benefits based on their work record. You will not have to communicate with your ex-spouse nor will they be notified that you will be collecting benefits off their work record. This does not impact their Social Security benefits at all.

If you have been married and divorced multiple times, and you qualify for Social Security benefits in each case, you can pick which ex-spouse’s work record you want to use. However, you can only use one.

Also, keep in mind that you will only receive 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefit. If your ex-spouse is expected to receive $3,000 a month at full retirement age (between 66 and 67 years old, depending on your birth year), then you will receive $1,500. You can take the benefits starting at age 62, but the longer you wait, the more you will receive—up until age 70.

If your ex-spouse dies, you may be eligible to receive 100% of his or her benefits. The marriage must have lasted 10 years, You must be at least 60 years and single. If you remarried, you must have done so after age 60.

To receive an estimate of your ex-spouse’s benefits, you will need to visit a local Social Security office and provide them with your marriage certificate and divorce decree. You’ll also need to provide your ex’s Social Security number. If you don’t know it, then be prepared to provide their date of birth, birthplace, and parents’ names.

Contact a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today

If you qualify for Social Security benefits, make sure you take the proper steps to obtain them. This extra income can make a huge difference during retirement.

The Columbia divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can ensure you get all the benefits you’re entitled to receive after a divorce. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation. We have two offices to serve you.

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