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Divorce And Social Security


Are you a senior who’s considering divorce, but who is concerned about how you’ll make ends meet? If so, there may be good news for you from the Social Security Administration. There are, in fact, nearly 700,000 Americans currently enjoying these benefits, primarily, though not exclusively, women.

Collect a Benefit 

Nearly half of people who are close to retirement age do not realize that if you’re divorced, you may be able to collect benefits from Social Security based on your former spouse’s earnings. That’s right! Beginning at age 62, you could be eligible to get over 30 percent of the benefit calculated from your ex’s lifetime earnings. That percentage rises monthly until it hits 50 percent if you start collecting at full retirement age.

The Possibilities

Here are the facts worth knowing:

  • You must have been married for 10 or more years in order to qualify for this benefit.
  • An ex-spouse qualifies for either Social Security Disability Insurance or Social Security retirement benefits.
  • You are eligible for this divorced-spouse benefit if it exceeds the benefit based on your personal earnings record.
  • You would get just the highest of the two amounts, not both your husband’s and your own benefit.
  • It doesn’t matter if you are male or female; the lesser earning spouse may be eligible for the benefit.
  • You cannot be remarried to collect the benefit.
  • Your former spouse will not be impacted in any way if you received benefits based on their earnings.
  • You can collect if your former spouse is of eligible age, whether or not they currently collect themselves if you’ve been divorced for two years or longer.
  • The average retirement benefit to divorced spouses is over $900 monthly.
  • For divorced people whose spouse receives disability benefits, the average amount is over $400 monthly.
  • Divorced spouses receive an average of over $1,600 in survival benefits (available at age 60).
  • Divorced spouses receive an average of nearly $900 in survival disability benefits (available at age 50).
  • Divorced spouses are entitled to an average of over $1,100 in survival benefits for disabled children of all ages.

If You’re Earning Money 

There is an earning cap linked to Social Security benefits for people who are not yet at retirement age. If you make just over $21,000, your benefit as a divorced spouse is $1 for every $2 earned over that amount, and $1 for every $3 earned over roughly $56,500.

The Help You Need 

Sound complicated?  For the experienced Baltimore divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, dealing with issues related to gray divorce is an everyday occurrence.  We can help with this, and all your divorce needs.  To discuss your circumstances, contact our Baltimore office today for a confidential consultation.

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