How Divorce Affects Social Security Benefits

Social Security can seem like a complex system. How much will you receive in retirement and what factors affect it? Divorce is one such factor, and depending on how long you were married, you could be entitled to much more than you think.

If you have been through a divorce, you know that money can be tight. Take hold of your retirement and ensure its stability by understanding your options for Social Security benefits after a divorce.

What to Know About Social Security and Divorce

Just because you are divorced does not mean you are automatically entitled to a higher amount of Social Security benefits. There are certain requirements that must be met first.

First, you need to compare your Social Security benefits to your spouse’s. If you’re already set to receive more benefits than your ex-spouse, then you would not qualify to receive more. However, if your monthly benefit amount is less, then you could receive more based on your ex-spouse’s work record.

But it doesn’t end there. There are a couple more requirements you must meet before you can be eligible for an increase. Age is one of those factors. You cannot claim Social Security benefits until you are at least 62 years. You and your ex-spouse must have been married for at least 10 years. In addition, you cannot currently be married. Once you remarry after a divorce, you lose out on your rights to your ex-spouse’s benefits. However, it does not matter if your ex-spouse has remarried.

If you and your ex-spouse are both at least 62 years old, and your ex has not claimed Social Security benefits, you can still claim them based on his or her work record, as long as you have been divorced for a minimum of two years. If you are eligible for Social Security benefits based on your work history, you will receive your money first. Then, if you are eligible under your ex-spouse’s work record as well, you will receive additional benefits each month.

The monthly amount depends on your age. You can start receiving your benefits once you reach age 62, but the longer you wait, the better. You will reach your full retirement age at 66, 67 or somewhere in between. At that point, you will receive the highest monthly benefit payment possible for your situation. If you are eligible based on your ex-spouse’s work record, you will receive half of his or her monthly benefit payment if you wait until your full retirement age.

Contact a Maryland Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce can affect a person’s life in various ways—good and bad. When it comes to money, more is better. Make sure you have a stable and comfortable retirement.

If you are divorcing, get financial help from Columbia divorce lawyer Todd K. Mohink. He understands all the legal and financial components of a divorce. Fill out the online form or call (410) 774-5987 to schedule a free consultation. We have two offices to serve you.


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