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How Divorce & Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits

How Divorce & Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits

Posted By Meyers Law Group, P.C. || 12-May-2014

For many divorcees, their split can have far-reaching legal and financial ramifications. Everything from daily budgets to retirement plans can be touched by the divorce process, and this includes Social Security benefits. Do any of the following scenarios apply to you?

  1. Were you married for at least a decade? If your divorce took place at least two years ago, then you have the option to file a claim for divorced spousal benefits, if that amount is worth more than your own benefits. Actually, you can claim your benefits as well as theirs.
  2. Are you at full retirement age (FRA)? If you are 66 years old, and meet the requirements in the above paragraph, then you could claim your ex's benefits for the next four years. Once you hit 70, you can then start collecting your benefits. This means over those first four years, your own benefits will increase in value as you hold off on collecting them. You can get the most out of Social Security this way, through this restricted filing application.
  3. Want to start collecting spousal benefits before FRA? If you are at least 62 but not yet 66, and you want to start gaining these benefits through your ex, you are depleting your own future benefits, as you cannot restrict this filing. If you are working while you claim these early spousal benefits, you could also be decreasing your benefits because of the earnings limit.
  4. Did you remarry after the divorce? Usually speaking, you can no longer claim your ex's Social Security benefits, which is likely no loss at all. You have only to wait a year to qualify for your new spouse's benefits. If a second spouse dies, then the surviving spouse might have the option to claim their ex's benefits or those of their deceased spouse, whichever is higher. This could be the case if both marriages lasted a minimum of 10 years.
  5. Are you both 62 years old or older? Then if the divorce was finalized at least two years ago, you don't have to wait for your ex to claim benefits before you can do so.

Divorce and Social Security are enough on their own to represent a vast maze of technical requirements and numerous exceptions. When both these complex processes are combined, it would be advisable for you to work with experts, both financial and legal experts. When you have questions regarding the effects of a divorce and what strategies you should pursue, do not hesitate to reach the legal team at the Meyers Law Group, P.C. Start getting the legal counsel you deserve when you talked to a committed Long Island divorce attorney today!