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Learning More About Benefits for Divorced Spouses

If you get divorced in Florida, you are likely to have questions about how retirement benefits will work for your former spouse. Whether you are filing for divorce in your 30s or well into retirement, the issue of Social Security benefits after divorce should be an important topic. We can help you to understand the requirements for a spouse to receive benefits and how to move forward with a claim.

In short, if you spent many years as a stay-at-home parent while your spouse worked and earned an income, getting divorced does not necessarily mean that you will lose access to your former spouse’s retirement benefits. Indeed, even if your former spouse remarries, you will not automatically lose your access to benefits. By taking a closer look at the Social Security Administration’s Retirement Planner, we can provide you with key information concerning retirement benefits after divorce.

Requirements for Receiving Retirement Benefits on Your Ex-Spouse’s Record

What do you need to know about receiving retirement benefits on your ex-spouse’s record? According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the first thing you need to keep in mind is that you can be eligible to receive benefits based on your former spouse’s employment, even if she or he has since remarried, if all of the following items apply to you:

  • Your marriage with your former spouse lasted for at least 10 years;
  • You are currently unmarried;
  • You are at least 62 years old;
  • Your former spouse is currently entitled to receive Social Security retirement benefits or disability benefits; and
  • Any Social Security benefit to which you are entitled, based on your own record, is less than the benefit you would receive based the work of your former spouse.

If it sounds like you might be eligible to receive Social Security benefits and are not currently doing so, it is very important to speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney.

Details About Benefits for Former Spouses

If you are in fact eligible to receive Social Security benefits on your former spouse’s work, how much can you get? In short, a divorced spouse will receive one-half of the former spouse’s full retirement amount or disability benefit, assuming that you begin receiving benefits when you reach your full retirement age.

Depending on your date of birth, the “full retirement age” can vary. The SSA defines this age as “the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits.” For people born in 1937 or earlier, the full retirement age is 65. For those born between 1938-1959, the full retirement age varies between 65 years and 2 months to 66 years and 10 months. For those born in 1960 and afterward, the full retirement age is 67. Just because your full retirement age is 67 does not mean that you cannot begin receiving benefits earlier. However, if you do start getting benefits when you are 62, they will be reduced by a certain percentage up until your full retirement age.

It is also important to keep in mind that, generally speaking, you are not entitled to your former spouse’s benefits if you remarry. Certain exceptions do exist, and your lawyer can discuss your options with you.

If you have questions about applying for and obtaining Social Security benefits after divorce, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Hollywood divorce lawyer about your situation. Contact the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online.

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