Family Law Blog

Social Security and Divorce: What Happens To The Benefits When You Split?

Friday, October 06, 2017

Social security is meant to help support you when you reach retirement age, and if you get married then you and your spouse's social security benefits are entwined. But what happens if you get divorced? Well, it really depends on how long you were married as the Social Security Agency points out.

10 Years is The Sweet Spot

If you were married for ten years, or longer, then it is possible to receive benefits based on your spouse's income. As long as you:

- Are 62 years of age (or older)

- Have not remarried

- Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive either retirement or disability benefits, and those benefits are greater than what you would receive for your own retirement or disability

If you meet the above qualifications, then you could be entitled to one-half of your ex-partner's social security benefits. Additionally, if you have remarried but you divorce, your marriage is annulled, or your partner dies before you reach the ten-year mark, then you could become eligible for benefits under your former partner's social security once again.

It's also important to remember that your ex-partner doesn't necessarily need to be receiving social security in order for you to claim your portion of it. If your ex-partner qualifies for social security (whether or not they're currently receiving any benefits), and you have been divorced for at least two years, then you can start receiving your benefits as soon as you qualify for them.

Divorce complicated social security, but the system can be navigated with relative ease if you pick up the phone, and contact the agency in question. They're typically more than happy to answer your questions, and walk you through the process until you're comfortable with how it works.

For more information on divorce, division of property, and how you can move on with your life after your split, simply contact us today!