Should I File For Divorce Before My Spouse Starts Receiving Benefits
When you begin receiving Social Security benefits, the SSA will calculate your benefits both as a worker and as an ex-spouse or widow.
If your ex-spouse is 62 or older and has not applied for benefits, you may start receiving benefits if you have been divorced for two or more years.
Otherwise, there is no advantage or disadvantage as to when you should file for divorce as it relates to Social Security benefits.
Keep in mind that you must have been married for 10 years or longer, you cant currently be married and must meet other qualifying conditions based on your personal circumstances.
Eligibility For Social Security When Your Ex
If your ex-spouse dies, you might receive benefits if your marriage lasted for at least 10 years. If you don’t meet the 10-year marriage rule, you can still qualify for benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record if all of the following are true:
- you’re caring for your ex-spouse’s natural or legally adopted child
- the child is under age 16, or disabled, and
- the child is getting benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record.
Your benefits will continue until the child reaches age 16 or the child’s disability ceases.
Your benefits as a divorced spouse will not affect the amount of benefits other survivors receive on your ex’s record.
Could You Get More Social Security By Using The Work Record Of Your Ex
Love and marriage don’t always work out. But even if your marriage ended in divorce long ago, here’s a piece of good news: You may be able to get more Social Security by taking benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record instead of your own.
You can claim up to 50% of your ex-spouse’s primary insurance amount. That’s the amount they’re eligible for once they reach full retirement age, or FRA, which is between 66 and 67. If your ex-spouse is deceased, you may qualify for survivors benefits of up to 100%, though the rules for surviving divorced spouses are different.
Claiming Social Security based on a former spouse’s record has zero impact on their benefits. So if you’re the former spouse whose ex could get more based on your earnings, don’t worry — you’ll still get your full monthly payments. If your current spouse gets benefits based on your record, their payments won’t be impacted, either.
Here are five rules you can’t afford not to know about Social Security benefits and divorce.
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Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorney
If you are divorced and wish to receive Social Security Disability benefits through your ex-husband or ex-wife, talk to an attorney. The system to apply for Social Security Disability benefits is difficult enough to apply for yourself. Applying through a spouse especially a former spouse adds extra steps that make the system more difficult. Social Security Disability attorney Ken Kieklak may be able to help you apply and fight Social Security denials on your behalf. Call 316-0438 today for a free consultation on your case.
Social Security Eligibility Requirements For Divorced Spouses
You do not have to have worked or contributed to Social Security taxes on your own in order to receive benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work record. And, you might be able to receive benefits even if your ex-spouse has remarried.
To receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record, you must meet all of the following spousal-benefit eligibility requirements to receive payments:
- your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits
- your at least 10 years
- you are unmarried
- you’re at least 62 years old, and
- the benefit you’re entitled to based on your own work record is less than the benefit you’d receive based on your ex’s record.
If your ex-spouse qualifies but hasn’t yet applied for benefits and is at least 62 years old, you can receive benefits as long as you’ve been divorced for at least two continuous years and meet all of the requirements listed above.
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Can A Divorced Woman Collect Her Ex Husbands Social Security
Depending on eligibility, a divorced spouse may indeed be able to collect Social Security benefits through an ex if they were married for at least 10 years. If your ex hasnt applied for benefits yet, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits as long as you have been divorced for at least two years.
Next Steps To Consider
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Applying For Spousal Disability Benefits
If your husband or wife’s disability claim has already been approved, call the Social Security Administration at 772-1213 to apply for the spouse’s SSDI benefit. You must provide the SSA with your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, your Social Security number , and your bank’s routing information for direct deposit. If you are applying for a survivors benefit, you will also need to provide your deceased spouse or ex-spouse’s death certificate or other proof from the funeral home.
Your Benefit Could Be Reduced Or Denied If Your Ex
Fidelity surveyed* more than 1,000 people, asking whether they believed that an ex-spouse could influence their Social Security benefits. Fifty-two percent said yes, they could. The actual answer is no.
There are a lot of things an ex-spouse might do to complicate your life, but Social Security is off limits. Your ex has no influence over your benefits. When you are ready to claim your Social Security benefit, you simply make an appointment with your local SSA office and bring documents that prove the marriage and divorce. They will calculate your benefit options, and assuming you meet the criteria discussed earlier, you’ll receive the higher benefit based on your ex-spouse’s PIA.
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Ssdi On Your Own Work Record
If you receive SSDI based on your own work history, your payments wont be affected by your divorce. This is because the amount of the disability payment is based on your work history, not your spouses. Your benefits may be garnished, however, if you must begin paying alimony or child support. Whether or not your Social Security dependents benefits will be changed because of the divorce depends on the sort of benefits you receive.
For more information on how getting a divorce can impact your disability benefits, reach out to us at DisABLEd Workers.
How Long Does A Widow Receive Survivor Benefits
Widows and widowers Generally, spouses and ex-spouses become eligible for survivor benefits at age 60 50 if they are disabled provided they do not remarry before that age. These benefits are payable for life unless the spouse begins collecting a retirement benefit that is greater than the survivor benefit .
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How Much Social Security Will I Receive
It depends. If you qualify for Social Security benefits on your own work record, the government will pay that amount first . You can check your estimated Social Security benefits on the SSA’s website. However, if your ex-spouse’s benefits are higher than yours, your payment will include your own benefits along with an additional amount from your spouse’s benefits.
It’s important to note that if you receive benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work record, your receiving benefits will NOT reduce the benefits paid to your ex-spouse.
The total monthly payment depends on both spouses’ work records and when they file to begin receiving payments. For example, if a spouse is at least 62 years old and applies for benefits, the SSA will reduce the monthly payment using the government’s retirement earnings test. The older you are when you apply, the more the SSA will pay you each month.
However, if your ex-spouse doesn’t apply for benefits until full retirement age, the maximum you can receive is one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount. If you’re unsure whether you should apply now or wait, contact an experienced Social Security attorney near you.
When Is The Best Time To Claim On Your Ex
When to claim depends on how long you think you’ll live. If you are generally healthy and active or have relatives who have lived a long time, you’ll probably want to plan for 20, 25, 30, or more years in retirement. With Social Security, the longer you wait to claim, the larger the amount of monthly payments you’ll generally receive on your own work record. However, your benefit as an ex-spouse will not get any larger than half your ex’s PIA. And, that is only if you wait until your FRA to claim.
Let’s look at an example: Clair and her ex were married for 17 years, from 1975 to 1992. She worked and qualifies for her own Social Security benefits. Now, at age 64 , Clair is thinking about retirement and wants to know when she should claim, on whose record, and how much she would receive in monthly benefits under each scenario.
|Clair claims at 64|
|For illustrative purposes only.|
If Clair claims at 64, she locks in a permanent reduction of her monthly benefits. If she waits till 70, she’ll get a higher amount, but would have to use other assets to pay her retirement expenses between now and age 70.
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Receiving Social Security Through Ex
The SSA allows divorced spouses to collect Social Security Disability benefits through their spouses benefits. This usually happens when a spouse who does not work, such as a stay-at-home parent or a homemaker, wants to receive benefits. The rules are quite similar for both the typical Social Security retirement benefits that many Americans receive and the disability benefits our attorneys can help with.
The benefits that a spouse receives through their working spouses benefits are usually halved. The working spouse will still be able to take their full benefits, but the non-working spouse only receives half of what they would otherwise receive. The amounts might also be reduced based on your age. For disability benefits, you will receive the full half of your spouses benefits if you start taking disability benefits at your full retirement age, but they may be reduced to lower than half if you start taking the benefits earlier.
These rules are similar for ex-spouses. You are eligible to receive benefits through your former spouses Social Security Disability benefits as long as you meet the following criteria:
- You are not re-married
- You are 62 years-old or older
- Your former spouse is entitled to Social Security Disability
- Your own work history will entitle you to less benefits than your ex-spouses work history
Can A Divorced Spouse Receive Social Security Disability Survivors Benefits
Yes, you may still qualify for survivors benefits for your divorced spouse if:
- You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years,
- You are not currently married, and
- You are at least age 62.
The death of a spouse can cause overwhelming emotional and financial strain.
You need someone with legal experience you can trust to help you move your life forward. At Pilzer Klein, we know what it takes to qualify for Social Security Disability survivors benefits.
We pay attention to every detail of securing your benefits, so you can focus on restoring a sense of peace in your life.
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Ease The Stress And Avoid Mistakes With An Attorneys Help
Weve only covered the basics of this complex area of Social Security law. Everyones circumstances are different and will directly affect eligibility and even the strategy taken with a claim.
If your ex-spouse or spouse has passed away, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible so you understand whether you qualify for disability benefits, as either a widow or widower or as a surviving divorced spouse.
Your initial legal consultation is free and will be highly informative. We can help with your initial application or take your case to appeal a denied claim. We will discuss any questions you have and provide insights into many concerns not addressed here. Call today.
About Marc Whitehead
Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse
If you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record if:
- Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer.
- Your ex-spouse is unmarried.
- Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older.
- The benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on their own work is less than the benefit they would receive based on your work.
- You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
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Must Benefits Be Divided
States differ in their approach to dividing marital property. Some states allocate property on a 50:50 basis, while others follow the principle of equitable division, through which the court determines a fair distribution.
Although SSDI benefits generally arent considered marital property, depositing such funds into a joint account might result in a 50:50 division in a state with an equal property division divorce statute. Accounts established to hold only SSI or other disability benefits would be exempt from property division. Such accumulated sums would, however, be considered by courts in equitable division states when determining overall property distributions.
When calculating alimony, SSDI payments are considered income, while SSI is not.
VA disability benefits may not be considered when dividing marital property. They may be garnished for pay spousal or child support, however, if the veteran waived a portion of retirement pay in order to receive nontaxable disability benefits. In any case, VA benefits are considered income when determining support obligations.
If I Use My Own Social Security Benefits Now Will I Be Able To Claim My Ex
As long as your ex-spouse isn’t currently receiving benefits, then you can claim your own and eventually switch to spousal benefits when your ex-spouse files for social security. When you file for benefits after your ex, you’ll be subject to the ‘deemed filing rule,’ which will grant you the higher of the two benefits.
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How To Apply For Benefits As A Divorced Spouse
You can apply for benefits online by going to SSA.gov, or making an appointment at your local Social Security office. To apply for benefits on a former spouse’s work record, you will need to have that person’s Social Security number or date and place of birth and parents names.
When you apply for spousal benefits as a divorced spouse, Social Security will assume you are also applying for benefits on your own work record, and you’ll be eligible for the higher amount of the two. If your benefit is lower, Social Security will first pay you an amount based on your record, then make up the difference between that and what you’re eligible for on your ex-spouse’s record.
How Do I Apply For Widow Or Surviving Divorced Spouse Disability Benefits
To file a disability claim for widow or widowers Disability Benefits, or Surviving Divorced Spouse Disability Benefits, the SSA will need information to prove your eligibility, such as:
- Your name and Social Security Number
- The deceaseds name and Social Security Number
- Proof of your late spouses death
- Your birth certificate or other proof of birth
- Final divorce papers if applying for disabled surviving divorced spouse benefits
- Your marriage certificate
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
- Dependent childrens Social Security numbers, if available, and birth certificates
- Your banking information
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Does A Spouse Get Survivor Benefits
Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings. You may receive survivors benefits when a family member dies. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of a worker who died. The deceased person must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits.
You May Qualify For Benefits From A Previous Marriage
by Stan Hinden, AARP
If you’re divorced, you may still qualify for Social Security benefits from your former spouse.
A: Yes, it’s true you might. Social Security operates with a philosophy that a divorced person may deserve a personal benefit, having been the long-term partner and helpmate of a member of the workforce. The benefit is similar, in fact, to the spousal benefit that is available to a person who is still married.
Basically, there are two sets of rules that determine whether you qualify. The first applies if your ex-spouse is living, and the second applies if he’s deceased. Either way, it won’t surprise you to learn that the rules are complicated, and you’ll need to take some time getting familiar with them.
And before we go further, keep in mind that Social Security is gender neutral. Though many of its rules date to an era of one-income households with the man working and the woman staying home and raising children everything you’ll read here concerning a divorced woman would apply equally to a divorced man.
Also, any benefits that you as a divorced spouse might receive would have no effect on the amount of benefits your ex-spouse gets.
Q: My former spouse is still living. What are the basics for that set of rules?
- Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer