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Divorce and Social Security Spousal Benefits

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Aug 16, 2021

Divorce and Social Security Spousal Benefits

Guide To Divorce and Social Security Spousal Benefits

Social security. It is the safety net for millions of Americans, and it is something that the last few generations of Americans have built up. 

But, in the world of divorce, assets become complicated. For baby boomers, the divorce rate has increased by ten times since the 1990s. 

If you are one of those divorced, that can leave questions. For example, if my ex-husband gets remarried, can I get his social security? Can my ex-spouse reduce my social security benefits? How much social security does a non-working spouse get? Are there loopholes?

We explain the answers to these questions in this guide. 

 

If My Ex-Husband Remarried Can I Get His Social Security?

The answer is yes. An ex-husband’s marital status will not affect if you are eligible to receive their social security benefits. However, if YOU remarried since the divorce of your original spouse, then you would not be eligible to receive those benefits unless the remarriage ended in a divorce, annulment, or death. 

 

When Are You Eligible?

You are eligible to receive the social security benefits either when you turn 62 or take care of a disabled child under 16 who qualifies for the disability benefits. If you are disabled yourself, then you can apply at age 50.

But, it is not just about age. You have to have been married to your original spouse for at least ten years before you are eligible for spousal benefits. Also, you must wait two years after you divorce that spouse before you can file.

If, however, your spouse dies and you become a widower, then you can receive a survivor’s benefit of up to 100% of your spouse’s social security benefits. You are eligible for this if they have worked for at least ten years.

 

How Much Can You Get?

The answer to this depends on how long you wait to receive the benefits. The highest possible is that if your spouse dies, you can be entitled to up to 100% of social security.

Assuming your ex-spouse is still alive, it can still be as high as 50%. That is usually the case if you are responsible for a disabled child or wait for the full retirement age to claim the benefits (around age 67).

However, if you want to claim the benefits early, the retirement benefits get reduced. The earliest you can generally claim it is when you are 62. If you claim it at that age, the benefits can be as low as 32.5%.

Social security provides a calculator to figure out your exact eligibility for spousal benefits.

 

Loopholes

There used to be a social security spousal benefits loophole before 2016 that allowed partners to double-dip if they were delaying their payments potentially. However, this got shut down by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

The most significant loophole now is to try and apply for spousal benefits before your divorce is final if you have the opportunity. Also, if you have had multiple spouses, you can claim benefits from whichever partner you think will receive the highest payout.

 

Get Legal Counsel for Your Divorce and Social Security Spousal Benefits

As you age and divorce is a possibility, there are undoubtedly questions that you may have. In this article, we have only touched briefly on a few. If you have additional questions regarding divorce and social security spousal benefits, please reach out to our divorce attorneys at Dalena & Bosh. We are here and eager to help you.

Contact Dalena & Bosch today to get professional legal counsel regarding divorce and social security spousal benefits.

Elizabeth Dalena helped me through a very difficult divorce and I felt working with her was like working with a friend you can trust! Beth, thank you for your professionalism and helping me through this difficult time.
Michael Mastrogiacomo - March 2020
If you’ve been searching for an honest and empathetic attorney...someone you can trust while you navigate the difficult and emotional world of family law, then do yourself a favor and contact Beth Dalena & Jessica Bosch. You’ll be so glad you did.
Par 5 Consulting - March 2020
When you are in the painful and often frightening process of divorce, the women of this law firm bring you confidence and security with their knowledge and professionalism. They exhibit that rare combination of the willingness to hold your hand like a compassionate friend and defend you like a piranha in the courtroom when necessary. They exhibit dedication, and the grace and wisdom of their long term experience. They look…
Cindy Morhouse - February 2020
These ladies have helped me several times in my experience with them. Jessica was my divorce attorney and I can say without hesitation, she was professionally and personally a gift to me. She handled my case (adversarial at best) with grace and knowledge. A fighter when necessary. She handled me in my personal state as a friend. Compassionate and kind. Beth assisted me with rewriting my deed after my divorce…
Scarlett O - January 2020
I chose Jessica A. Bosch to represent me because she was compassionate and knowledgeable. My divorce was a long and difficult journey. During this time, I lost sight of what was really important. Jessica kept me grounded and focused on what would be best for me after the divorce. I am grateful for her help in protecting two very important financial things that I might have given up. I didn't…
Cynthia R - December 2019