A US one dollar bill folded to look like a heart with a crack in the middle.
August 27, 2014 | by Chris Stein, CFP®, Finance Instructor at Colorado State University
Social Security Divorced Spouse Benefits

When you're done reading, be sure to listen to our audio blog below!

The unfortunate reality of today’s divorce rate causes many questions to arise about how the Social Security system handles benefits after a divorce.  When you are married for at least 12 months you qualify for a spousal benefit based on your spouse’s earnings record or your own benefit if you qualify with your own earnings record.  However, if you get divorced your right to a spousal benefit MAY go away.  That’s right, you MAY actually still qualify for a spousal benefit after being divorced if you meet the following criteria:

  1. Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;
  2. You are unmarried;
  3. You are age 62 or older;
  4. Your ex-spouse is entitled to retirement or disability benefits;
  5. You have been divorced at least 2 years.

Filing for a Spousal Benefit

If you meet the above criteria you have the option of filing for a spousal benefit, whether or not your ex-spouse has filed themselves.  This is actually a more lenient requirement than if you were still married.  If you are currently married your spouse has to have filed for their own benefit in order to unlock your ability to file for a spousal benefit.  Not so in the case of a divorce.

We are also asked about what happens if you remarry.  If you remarry you effectively “hitch your wagon to a new horse” and now may only file for a spousal benefit on your new spouses record, unless this subsequent marriage ends.  If this happens you may actually go back and file on your first spouses record if you still meet all the above requirements.  If somehow you end up with two (or more) ex-spouses that meet the above criteria you actually now have the choice to take the highest benefit from any one of your former spouses.

If you claim a spousal benefit on an ex-spouses earnings record their payments will not be affected, and in fact they will not even be notified that you have filed such a claim.  Their benefit is separate and distinct from the benefit you may claim.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions!  And if you would like to hear more about this topic, please use the play button below.

Comments are closed

Jim Saulnier and Associates | 970-530-0556 | 506 East Mulberry Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524
© 2017 Jim Saulnier, LLC. All rights reserved.

Ed Slott Advisor recognition requires an advisor to be well versed on the rules and regulations regarding IRAs.
The advisor must attend two live training sessions and pass two written exams annually to remain in the program.

Jim Saulnier, Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC to residents of: CO, IA, IN, MA, NY, TN, TX, WI and WY. No offers may be made to or accepted from any resident outside the specific states mentioned. Jim Saulnier, Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Financial Planning services offered through Jim Saulnier and Associates, LLC., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Jim Saulnier & Associates, LLC are not affiliated.

Theme by Theme Flames, powered by Wordpress.