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  • Writer's pictureAngela Larimer

Divorce and Social Security Benefits: What You Need to Know

Family Law resolutions offer opportunities to make a fresh start and improve your life. For help with your divorce, parentage, including child support and parenting time, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in Chicago, call Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600

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When it comes to divorce and Social Security benefits, there are a few important things to consider. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Eligibility for Divorced Spouse's Benefits: If you are divorced, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your former spouse's earnings record. To qualify, you must have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years and be currently unmarried. Generally, if you remarry, you cannot claim benefits based on your former spouse's record unless that subsequent marriage ends.

  2. Age Restrictions: To receive divorced spouse's benefits, you must be at least 62 years old. If you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age (FRA), (which can vary), the amount you receive will be reduced. Waiting until your FRA or later will result in a higher benefit amount.

  3. Your Ex-Spouse's Eligibility: In order for you to receive divorced spouse's benefits, your ex-spouse must be eligible for Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI). Furthermore, your ex-spouse must be at least 62 years old, but they do not need to be receiving their own benefits in order for you to claim yours.

  4. Impact: It's important to note that if you claim an ex-spouse's benefits, it does not reduce the amount of benefits your ex-spouse or their current spouse is eligible to receive. Claiming benefits based on your ex-spouse's record does not affect them or their current spouse in any way.

  5. Benefit Calculation: The amount you receive as a divorced spouse will generally be up to 50% of your ex-spouse's full retirement benefit. However, if you claim benefits before your FRA, your benefit amount will be reduced. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can provide you with an estimate of the benefits you may be eligible to receive.

  6. Remarriage After Age 60: If you remarry after reaching age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled), you can still receive benefits based on your former spouse's record. However, if you remarry before that age, you generally cannot claim divorced spouse's benefits. Instead, you may be eligible for benefits based on your current spouse's record, if applicable.

It's important to consult with your attorney as well as the Social Security Administration or a qualified financial advisor to understand your specific situation and the impact of divorce on your Social Security benefits. They can provide personalized guidance based on your circumstances and help you make informed decisions.

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