Claiming Social Security Benefits From Your Former Spouse

Social security benefits
Most Americans have through their working years paid into Social Security expecting to access this during their retirement years starting anytime after age 62.

Most couples understand that each of their individual social security incomes can help each other during their retirement planning strategies.

In addition, it should be common knowledge that there is such a thing as receiving spousal benefits from your spouse. So as couples make their retirement planning they can use this as a tool to manage this asset.

Due to Americans living longer, this asset could potentially be worth from $300,000 payout to over $600,000. It is worth taking the time to understand Social Security and its payouts.

What gets very confusing and is more obscure is if people can claim their spousal benefits from their former spouse.

The answer is “yes”, but there are some qualifications for this!

This benefit can make the difference for some people struggling after divorce and now are in their sixties. Here are the main points.

You can claim your spousal social security benefits from your former spouse if the following items are met:

  • You were married at least 10 years
  • You are now at least 62 years old
  • You are not currently married
  • Your former Spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits
  • Drawing on this benefit will not affect your former spouse’s benefits
  • Drawing on this benefit will not be revealed to your former spouse as it does not affect their payout
  • You need to produce evidence of the marriage and the divorce
  • The spousal benefit is more than the benefit you would receive from your own work.

This spousal benefit is typically one-half of your former spouse’s full retirement benefit if you start receiving the benefit at your own full retirement age. This again shows that your benefit is less than the benefit of half of your former spouse.

If you happen to have remarried, you cannot collect on your former spouse’s social security benefits of record unless you have been divorced for at least two years.

Of course, getting a divorce on your current spouse to collect benefits on your former spouse does not mean you cannot continue to live with your current spouse and still love your current spouse. Yes, I am suggesting a sham divorce for the record if it benefits you financially in collecting on your former spouse’s record.

Of course, if you were married more than once, and each marriage lasted at least 10 years, then it may be possible to pick the record of the former spouse that has the highest payout to you.

In addition to this, there are some rules that have to do with your birth date. If you were born on January 2, 1954, you could choose to receive your ex-spouse’s benefit and delay your own.

If you were born after January 2, 1954, you have to choose between one benefit or the other. You can no longer delay your own benefit if you choose the spousal benefit.

This is not a one size fits all benefit here. This is part of the promises that the Federal Government has put into law as part of the social security benefits for having paid into the system.

The purpose here is to simply inform you of your benefits. You would be advised to seek the professional help of an experienced financial advisor who is very well trained in Social Security benefits and knows how to implement them into an overall long-term financial plan.

You also can start with going to Social Security Online for divorced spouse information.

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