Social Security Entitlement
Divorced couples have an uncertain future. One of the greatest uncertainties is each spouse’s financial stability, particularly those who have retired, are close to retirement age, or have not had a job for many years due to their role as a homemaker or stay at home parent. One tool to help ensure that you set out on the right financial path is to collect Social Security benefits. As the spouse who earned the higher income, you can continue receiving Social Security benefits after you divorce as per normal. The same goes for the lower earning spouse—you can continue receiving Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, even if you have not yet turned 65 years old. Or, you can wait until you are 65 to start collecting Social Security benefits on your own record, or hold off on collecting spousal benefits to maximize your monthly payment.
Benefits You Can Receive On Your Ex-Spouse’s Record
If you are married to someone who is receiving social security benefits, you may remain eligible to continue receiving benefits on their record after you get divorced. You are eligible to receive benefits as long as you meet the requirements below, according to the Social Security Administration:
- The marriage lasted 10 years or longer;
- You are 62 years old or older;
- You are not re-married;
- Your ex-spouse worked for 10 years or more;
- You have been divorced for at least two years; and
- Your Social Security retirement benefits are lower than your spouse’s.
Receiving Benefits on Your Own Record
If you are divorced, you can collect Social Security benefits on your own work record if you have worked for 10 years or more. Or, you may be able to collect spousal benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record as explained above. You will receive whichever benefit is higher. If you receive Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record, the maximum spousal benefit you can receive is 50 percent of their Social Security benefit.
Delaying Benefits Until Later May be the Best Choice
According to AARP, it may be wise to delay Social Security benefits for as long as possible, which will allow larger payments in your later years. If you are eligible to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, the longer you wait to start collecting, the larger your monthly benefits will be. For example, if you started receiving spousal benefits at the age of 62, they would be 35 percent of your spouse’s Social Security benefits. If you wait until 65, they will be 50 percent, or equal to what your spouse receives.
Contact a San Jose Divorce Attorney For Advice Today
There are many complex elements to divorce, and Social Security benefits is just one of them. If you are going through divorce, or have already been divorced and simply have questions about Social Security benefits for an ex-spouse, do not hesitate to reach out to the San Jose divorce attorneys at Foster Hsu, LLP for assistance. Call us today at 408-841-7200 to schedule a consultation.