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Getting Social Security in a divorce

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Blog, Divorce Mediation |

During a divorce, one person may earn more and have more retirement savings than his or her soon-to-be-ex-spouse. This is typically a conflict of a person’s well-being because Social Security benefits in retirement are based on prior wages and lifetime earnings. Florida residents who’ve earned less than their spouses could be entitled to a boost based on their partners’ benefits from Social Security.

Social Security benefits from an ex-spouse

During the life of your marriage, you can file to adjust your Social Security benefits when a spouse earns more than you. However, making adjustments during a divorce only complicates things. Before you move forward with the divorce, strategize, knowing that Social Security benefits only go out by the age of 62. You qualify for a Social Security boost but only during your ex-spouse’s retirement.

How much you qualify for from a spouse

After applying, a Social Security rep tells you exactly what you qualify for. To receive coverage based on a spouse’s benefits, you need to have been married for at least 10 years. However, when you apply for benefits via a spouse, as a filer, you must be unmarried. You’re disqualified if married to your spouse or another individual. You must also wait for two years after a divorce before you can apply.

The advantage of spousal benefits

Spousal benefits are benefit adjustments made for spouses who earn significantly less than their partners. This advantage increases your Social Security benefit to roughly 50% of your higher-earning spouse. Likewise, a spouse with lower earnings doesn’t qualify if he or she is already set to receive benefits that are equal to 50% of his or her spouse’s benefits.

When to apply for spousal benefits

Applying for spousal benefits while you’re married is the easiest. In fact, married spouses can work together. Certificates of marriage or divorce are needed when you file. This includes your spouse’s Social Security number, address, name and birthday. If you’re separated or divorced, your spouse won’t receive a notice that you’ve filed for benefits under his or her name.


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