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Social Security Considerations in Divorce

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Social Security is extremely important to our economic security.

Social Security stands as one of the most complex areas in financial planning (let alone divorce planning), but most people overlook it. For divorcing couples, if proper planning is not done, the result could be economically detrimental. The purpose of this guide is to address some common concerns concerning Social Security considerations in divorce.

woman on couch reviewing paperwork

Rules For Receiving Social Security of an Former Spouse

A few basic rules for divorced spouse to receive spousal benefits on the former spouses earnings are:

  1. The couple must have been married for a minimum of ten (10) years;
  2. Both spouses must be age 62 or older;
  3. The applicant seeking benefits must be unmarried at the time of the application;
  4. If the applicant is under the full retirement age (FRA) and is eligible for benefits on their own, then their own benefits must be less than 50 percent of the their former spouse’s benefit at FRA;
  5. If the applicant’s age is greater than FRA, they are eligible to receive spousal benefits even if their own benefit is greater than 50% of their spouse’s benefit at FRA;
  6. If the applicant’s former spouse has not filed for benefits at the date of the divorce, then the applicant must wait a minimum of two (2) years from the date of divorce before they are eligible to file.
  7. Divorced spousal benefits (DSB) are excluded from the “Family Maximum Calculation,” but surviving divorced spouse caregiver benefits are included;
  8. There are no available benefits for a divorced spouse with child-in-care. However, there are benefits for surviving divorced spouse with child-in-care;
  9. If a divorced spouse continues to work while receiving either divorced spousal or survivor benefits. the “earnings test” rules apply and may result in a reduction or elimination of benefits if received prior to FRA;
  10. If a divorced spouse, who previously qualified for DSB, gets remarried, they will no longer be eligible for DSB unless the subsequent marriage also end. If that occurs, the divorced spouse again becomes eligible for benefits off of the first ex-spouse.

Differences in Social Security benefits between married and divorced couples

There are a few significant differences in Social Security benefits between married and divorced couples that benefit divorced spouses. For divorced couples, a divorced spouse whose ex-spouse has not filed for benefits becomes eligible two (2) years after the divorce has been finalized. The “earnings test” does not apply to divorced couples. Divorced spouses are also eligible to file for benefits concurrently for benefits on the other. Lastly, the benefits being received by an ex-spouse do not affect the benefits that a new spouse can receive.

A divorced spouse also has the eligibility for survivor benefits if the following criteria is met: The marriage must have had a duration of at least ten (10) years; the applicant for DSB must be 60 years of age or older; and the applicant did not remarry before 60.

Our Team Can Help

If a divorced spouse is contemplating filing for benefits, or remarrying, these are important points to be counseled on.

Related Resources for Mature Adults Divorcing

At Petrelli Previtera, LLC, we understand that divorce can be a complex and emotionally charged process. To support you through this challenging time, we offer a wealth of related resources on our website. Our goal is to empower you with knowledge, enabling you to navigate your divorce process with confidence and clarity. Whether you’re just beginning to consider divorce or you’re already in the midst of proceedings. Our intent is to offer guidance, promote understanding, and ultimately assist you in making informed decisions about your future.

Explore resources tailored for mature adults facing divorce, focusing on unique considerations and challenges. Our articles cover a range of topics related to divorce and its financial implications. We provide guidance on social security benefits, retirement fund division, insurance changes, and considerations when dividing assets like the home. Additionally, we discuss important aspects of post-divorce life, such as adjusting to blended families and understanding alimony in long marriages.

This information is for general purposes and not legal advice. For specific guidance, consult with an attorney, such as those at Petrelli Previtera, LLC.
Contact us for personalized advice on navigating divorce in your mature years, ensuring your rights and interests are safeguarded.

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