The process of divorce is difficult at any age or circumstance. However, it can be especially intimidating later in life. The more knowledge you have about how your divorce will affect Social Security benefits, the better prepared you’ll be for your retirement years following a marital breakup in Texas.
Here’s a glimpse at how divorce may affect your Social Security benefits in the years ahead.
What to Expect from Social Security Following Your Divorce
So, you’ve just gotten a divorce, and you’re wondering how this will impact Social Security for you.
To begin with, understand that you won’t be able to draw Social Security benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record unless you were married for at least 10 years. Even if your marriage came to an end three decades ago, you can still collect from your ex-spouse’s benefits as long as your marriage lasted a decade or more.
Both your ex-spouse and you need to be 62 years of age or older before you claim benefits as an ex-spouse. In addition, your divorce must have taken place at least two years ago before you can begin collecting under the umbrella of your ex’s benefits.
How Much Will You Receive in Retirement Benefits When You Divorce and Then Seek Social Security?
If you’re allowed to collect Social Security benefits after divorce based on your ex’s eligibility, your benefit amount will be 50% of the amount that your ex is to receive at his or her full retirement age. However, this is true only if you claim the benefit at your full retirement age. You can certainly claim your benefits at age 62, but you’ll receive less than 50% of what you’d get at your full retirement age, also known as your FRA.
Keep in mind that you won’t get your ex-spouse’s benefits based on their historical wages if it’s lower than what you’d get based on your own employment history.
What If You Remarry?
Perhaps you got a divorce and are seeking Social Security, but have remarried. In this situation, you’re not an ex-spouse any longer from the perspective of Social Security. As a result, you will receive your retirement benefit based on the work history of your current spouse rather than your ex-spouse’s. This is true no matter which party has a bigger benefit amount at his or her full retirement age.
Let’s say, though, that the person you married the second time around passes away or divorces you. In this case, you can actually claim benefits based on whoever has the higher benefit amount.
Following Divorce, Can Your Ex Impact Your Social Security Benefit?
One of your biggest concerns when it comes to divorce and Social Security may be how your ex-spouse might affect your retirement benefits. The truth is, there’s no way that your benefits will be denied or reduced if an ex decides to claim benefits in a particular way. In other words, whatever your ex does from a Social Security standpoint has no bearing on your benefit amount.
When you’re ready to pursue your retirement benefits, you can simply visit your local Social Security Administration office to get the process started. Just be sure to bring with you documents proving your divorce and marriage. The office will then explore what your retirement benefit options are, and you can choose the route that will yield the greatest benefit.
Do You Need to Discuss Your Social Security Benefits Claiming Plan with an Ex-Spouse Following Divorce?
Another major concern you may have when dealing with divorce and Social Security is having to communicate with your ex-spouse about your intentions to claim benefits from their Social Security record. The reality is, you do not need your ex-spouse’s permission to collect benefits stemming from their Social Security eligibility.
As long as you meet the government’s requirements for receiving benefits based on the record of an ex-spouse, you will receive the benefits due to you. And that’s true even if the length of your marriage to that ex is a lot shorter than the number of years you’ve been divorced. Also, the Social Security Administration will not tell your ex that you are drawing your benefits on his or her record.
When Should You Pursue Your Social Security Benefit Using the Record of Your Ex Following Divorce?
So, when exactly is a good time to retire and seek Social Security benefits on your ex’s record following your divorce? The answer to this question all depends on your personal view of how long you’ll live.
If you’re an active and healthy person in general, or if your relatives are known to live into their 90s, you likely need to prepare to spend between two and three decades in retirement. In this case, it may behoove you to wait longer to collect Social Security, as you’ll get a larger monthly payment amount based on your personal wage record.
As mentioned earlier, note that if you divorce and you’re planning to claim Social Security benefits on your ex’s record, even if you hold off until your full retirement age to claim these benefits, you’ll get no more than half of the ex’s benefit amount. So, it’s important that you plan for this accordingly.
Protect Your Future with a Solid Understanding of Divorce and Social Security Today!
Navigating the process of getting a divorce can no doubt be challenging from a financial standpoint. However, dealing with both divorce and Social Security at the same time can be even more complicated. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.
Get in touch with us at the Ramos Law Group to find out how your marital dissolution will affect your future retirement benefits and what your best option is for maximizing these benefits when you need them.