Benefits for Your Divorced Spouse
- There are many spousal benefits afforded by divorced spouses. In fact, ex-spouses may still be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of an ex-spouse. If you have spent years outside the workforce, caring for children or elders, the benefits of your ex can make a world of difference.
- You don’t even need to tell your ex-spouse about your benefits claim. If you are divorced, even if remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record. However, pensions not based on work through Social Security may affect benefits received on an ex-spouse’s record.
In general, qualifying for spousal benefits depends on four criteria. These criteria include
- The length of marriage
- The age of the ex-spouse
- The marriage status of the ex-spouse
- The benefit eligibility of the ex-spouse
To qualify on your record, your ex-spouse must: have been married to you for at least a year, be 62 years of age, be unmarried, and be eligible for a benefit on your record equal or higher than that on his or her own Social Security record.
- Obviously, you must also be entitled to social security retirement or disability benefits.
- Disability Benefits for Your Divorced Spouse do not require you to have applied yourself. Even if you have not applied for retirement benefits, your ex-spouse can receive benefits on your record. You simply have to be qualified to receive such benefits. If the two of you have been divorced for at least two years, your ex-spouse may receive benefits.
- However, there are certain important nuances that should be considered. For example, if your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on his or her own record, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay that amount first.
- Social Security for Divorced Spouses is also directly related to differences in benefit amounts. If the benefit on your record is higher, your ex-spouse will receive an additional amount on your record. This ensures that the combination of benefits comes out to that higher amount.
- Birth dates are also important. If your ex-spouse has a birth date prior to January 2, 1954 and has already reached full retirement age, he or she can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit.
- This decision delays receiving his or her own retirement benefit until later. If your ex-spouse was born on or after January 2, 1954, the option no longer exists. At this point, a filing for one benefit is essentially a filing for all spousal or retirement benefits. In general, the amount of the benefits your divorced spouse receives does not affect the amount of the benefits you or your current spouses receive.
If your ex-spouse works continuously during the receiving of benefits, he or she is subject to the same earnings limits as are you. You can also claim 50% of your ex’s benefits after you reach full retirement age. When you turn 70 years old, you can go back to your own increased, improved benefits.