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How divorce affects Social Security benefits

On Behalf of | May 22, 2019 | Divorce, Spousal Maintenance

For individuals in Minnesota eligible for Social Security, untying the knot doesn’t necessarily mean no longer being able to collect on a spouse’s record. If a marriage has lasted for 10 years or more and the former spouse is 62 or older and unmarried, they may be entitled to as much as half of an ex’s full retirement amount or disability benefit. The other spouse’s eligible payouts must also be higher than what the spouse seeking benefits is entitled to receive themselves.

A former spouse can also collect Social Security benefits on an ex-spouse’s record even if that spouse has remarried. Also, if a former spouse has been divorced for at least two years, they may be able to collect on their ex’s record even if they haven’t yet applied for benefits. Eligibility for spousal benefits typically ends if the recipient spouse remarries, but they may be able to collect on their new spouse’s record if they are eligible for distributions.

A former spouse may be able to once again collect from their ex’s record if their subsequent marriage ends in divorce or annulment, or if that spouse passes away. If there are multiple marriages that also end in divorce, it may be possible to collect from the ex-spouse with the highest benefit amount. The main stipulation is that each subsequent marriage must have also lasted for at least 10 years. Plus, the other criteria already discussed must be met.

The Social Security Administration pays a divorcing spouse for benefits on their own record first. Benefits from an ex’s record could serve as additional income if their payouts are higher. If a spouse does not meet the requirements to receive part of an ex’s benefits, a divorce lawyer may recommend seeking appropriate spousal support to make up for an income discrepancy created due to the end of a marriage.

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