What Happens to Social Security Benefits After Divorce?

When you get divorced, all of your marital property is subject to the asset and property division process. Marital property is defined as anything jointly owned by you as a couple. Any property you obtained before your marriage or as a result of an inheritance is not included in marital property.

What is often included, aside from regular property and money, are bank accounts, retirement accounts and pensions. But what about Social Security benefits? Do you risk losing some of these benefits if you get a divorce?

The simple answer is, “no.” No matter what your work history, any benefits you have earned through the Social Security Administration (SSA) remain yours when you reach the eligible age to collect.

Spouses may still receive benefits

Although an individual cannot lose his or her Social Security benefits, that person’s former spouse could still gain them. You might be eligible to receive one half of the amount your former spouse receives in Social Security if you were married for at least 10 consecutive years and meet other eligibility requirements.

It’s important to note that if you receive Social Security benefits and your former spouse is eligible to receive half the amount you do, that half does not come out of what you receive. You would receive all of the benefits owed to you, and your former spouse would receive half that amount from the SSA, as well.

If you have any questions about how Social Security benefits work after divorce, speak with a knowledgeable Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart.

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