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Consider Social Security Benefits in Late-Life Divorce

Divorce courts are not allowed to divide Social Security benefits during the asset division process. However, there are still some rules about these benefits you should consider, as they could be relevant to your income after your divorce.

Here’s a brief overview of what you should know.

If you’re at least 62 and had a marriage lasting at least 10 years

In this situation, you are allowed to collect retirement benefits on your ex-spouse’s Social Security record without reducing the benefits your ex receives. This is particularly beneficial for divorcees who had not been working during their marriage.

You are allowed to draw benefits of up to half your ex’s benefit in some circumstances. In addition, you can start receiving retirement benefits at the age of 62 on your own Social Security record or on your ex’s record, then switch to the other benefit once you reach full retirement age, if the other benefit is higher.

After you’ve been divorced for a minimum of two years you are entitled to benefits from your ex even if your former spouse is eligible but not yet receiving their benefits.

If your ex dies

If your ex passes away you may be eligible for survivor benefits of up to 100 percent of their Social Security benefit. Eligibility requirements include:

  • The marriage lasted at least 10 years
  • You are not eligible for retirement benefits equal or greater than your former spouse’s benefit
  • You are at least 60 years old

Interested in learning more about how Social Security benefits may impact some of your divorce considerations? Contact an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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