Collecting on your ex spouse’s social security

April 6, 2018 Post-Divorce, Property, Debt, & Finances

A lot of people going through a divorce, may not know or realize that they may be eligible at retirement age, to start drawing social security on their ex spouse’s account.

In order to do so, you must meet certain rules as outlined by the Social Security Administration. Forty three percent of unmarried older U.S. citizens, rely on their social security benefit for at least 90 percent of their income, so relying on a bigger monthly payment from their ex spouse can be huge.

What are the rules to qualify?

  1. You must have been married at least 10 years to your former spouse;
  2. You must be at least 62 years of age or older;
  3. You must be currently unmarried;
  4. The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own employment record must be less than your ex spouse’s benefit.

If you can meet these four prongs, you may be entitled to up to one-half of your ex spouse’s full retirement benefit, irrespective of when your ex spouse decides to take social security or even in the case where they have remarried.

You can start drawing your own social security at age 62, but you will receive a reduced benefit. It is better to wait until age 66 and whatever months after that (depending on the year you were born)are necessary to draw your own social security to receive the full benefit. Every year after age 66, the amount grows by 8%, which is capped out to the maximum benefit allowed at age 70.

The same isn’t true however, for drawing against your ex spouse’s benefit. It is essential to file and commence benefits immediately upon reaching full retirement age as there is no delayed retirement credit eligibility for an ex spouse.

In order to look into receiving your ex spouse’s benefit, you will need a copy of your marriage certificate and a divorce decree to start the process. You can go to your local Social Security office to compare both payments to see which one is more lucrative to have. You can also do it online at the Social Security Administration’s web site.

Should you get remarried, you are no longer eligible to claim your ex spouse’s benefit. Rather, you would be eligible for your own earned credits. If your remarriage, results in divorce, death or annulment, at that point, you can go back and claim the first ex spouse’s benefit, if it was higher than your own.

If you have questions about social security when getting a divorce, contact the experienced family lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. today for a 100% confidential consultation.

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