If you are receiving or intending to receive Social Security benefits, either for retirement or through disability insurance, how will your divorce affect these benefits?
Fortunately, the circumstances under which divorced spouses are entitled to social security benefits are fairly clear in the law – you don’t have to negotiate the matter with your divorce. Here is an overview of what you need to know.
That’s what happens with post-divorce benefits
Divorce does not affect the social security benefits that you receive or wish to receive if the benefits are based on your professional history. You will still receive the total amount that you are entitled to. However, if you are receiving or planning to receive retirement benefits based on your ex-spouse’s professional history, you will only continue to receive these benefits after the divorce if:
- Your ex-spouse is entitled to social benefits
- You are 62 years or older
- You are single
- You have been married to your ex-partner for at least ten years
- The amount that you are entitled to based on your own professional history does not exceed the amount that you are entitled to based on the history of your ex-spouse.
If you meet these requirements, you can apply for social benefits even if your ex-spouse has not yet applied for them, as long as you have been divorced for at least two years. Social security will not notify your spouse of your application, nor will your benefits affect the amount you receive. If your ex-spouse remarried, the benefits you receive will not affect the new spouse’s ability to perform if they are eligible.
Determination of the total benefit amounts
When determining the total amount owed to you, the social security system takes into account both your professional career and the professional career of your former spouse. You are entitled to either 100% of the benefits based on your own references or 50% of the amount of your ex-spouse’s benefits, whichever is higher.
For example, let’s say you are entitled to $ 500 per month based on your professional history. Your ex is entitled to $ 2,000 a month based on his. If your ex’s history makes you eligible for benefits, you are entitled to $ 1,000: half the amount you are entitled to. Social Security would then give you $ 500 based on your earnings history and another $ 500 based on your ex-partner’s history to make sure you get a total of $ 1,000. Your ex-spouse is still receiving the entire $ 2,000 due to them.
Social security disability insurance benefits
If you or your ex-spouse meet the social security definition of disability, you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you have worked long enough in social security jobs.
As with social security benefits, if you are receiving SSDI based on your own employment record, your divorce will not affect your entitlement to benefits. However, if necessary, the agency can attach part of your benefits to cover your maintenance or child maintenance.
In the event that your ex-spouse is entitled to disability insurance benefits, whether before or after your marriage, you are also entitled to benefits provided that:
- You are unmarried
- You are at least 62 years old and have been married to your ex for at least ten years; or
- You are looking after your ex-spouse’s child under the age of 16 or a disabled child who is entitled to disability benefits according to your ex-partner’s work file. The child must also be your birth or legally adopted child.
If your ex-spouse does qualify for SSDI but has not yet applied for it, you may still be entitled to benefits, depending on your spouse’s previous work history, if you are unmarried, you are both at least 62 years old and have been divorced for at least a year are at least two years.
To learn more, or if you have additional questions about social security benefits or divorce issues, contact Miller Law Group for a confidential consultation today. We will help you find the most suitable divorce alternative for you.
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