Retirement savings might be challenging, but Social Security can help make ends meet, particularly if your nest egg isn’t as large as you had planned. Although pensions are the most popular kind of Social Security benefits, there are other options as well. Should you have previously been married, you might be eligible for benefits related to your spouse or divorce. Benefits for spouses are typically only available to persons who are now married. However, you can still be qualified for hundreds of dollars a month in divorce benefits if you’re divorced.
Eligibility For Social Security Divorce Benefits
Generally speaking, all it takes to be eligible for spousal benefits is to tie the knot with someone who receives Social Security payments for retirement or disability. However, there are a few more conditions you must fulfill to receive divorce benefits. You have to be married for a minimum of ten years in your prior marriage. You are not eligible to be married at this time, but you may still be if your ex-spouse has remarried. You cannot apply for divorce benefits if you were divorced for below two years and your ex-spouse has not started receiving Social Security. Even if your earnings history qualifies you for Social Security, you might still obtain divorce benefits, though the specifics can be confusing.
Apply For Social Security Divorce Benefits
50% of what your ex-spouse will get at their FRA is the maximum amount of divorce benefits you can get. You will not be able to start claiming until after your own FRA to get those maximum benefits. Depending on the year of your birth, your FRA is determined by age; for those born in 1960 or after, it is 67. Social Security applications can be submitted as early as age 62, but monthly payments will decrease the earlier you start receiving them. Divorce benefit payments are not increased if you postpone Social Security over your FRA, in contrast to ordinary retirement benefits.
Lastly, filing for divorce will have no bearing whatsoever on your ex-partner’s benefit amount. Taking divorce benefits won’t affect their current spouse’s eligibility to get spousal benefits if they’ve remarried, according to their record. You can still get divorce benefits if your job record qualifies you for Social Security, but you’ll only get the greater of the two amounts. Let’s take an example where your ex-spouse receives $3,000 per month at their FRA and you are eligible for $1,000 per month in pensions based on your earnings history. So in this scenario, your maximum monthly gain from divorce is $1,500.
In a technical sense, you will be paid twice. Your $1,000 payout will be paid by the SSA initially, and you will subsequently receive an additional $500 in divorce payments each month, for a total monthly payment of $1,500. For example, you wouldn’t be eligible for divorce benefits if you were receiving retirement benefits of $2,000 a month. Benefits from divorce might be tricky. However, as of December 2023, retired workers’ average spousal/divorce benefit was approximately $912 per month, which is a substantial amount. You may enter retirement with the best possible preparation if you make sure you’re getting all the benefits to which you’re entitled.