2630 W. Bradley Place, Suite C Chicago, IL 60618
E-mail: pwa@keatinginc.com
Phone: 773-975-4020

Beth Kraszewski named as Top Best-in-State Woman Wealth Advisor by Forbes

Social Security Benefits in Divorce

Understanding Social Security Benefits in Divorce

Divorce can be a complex and overwhelming process, involving the untangling of not only emotional ties but also financial ones. One crucial aspect that often gets overlooked during this challenging time is the impact of divorce on Social Security benefits. As you navigate the intricacies of divorce, it’s essential to understand how your marital status affects your eligibility for Social Security and how to maximize your benefits.

At Purposeful Wealth Advisors, we are committed to providing you with the knowledge and guidance you need to make informed decisions about your financial future, including your Social Security benefits.

Let’s dive into the key aspects of Social Security in the context of divorce and explore how you can safeguard your financial well-being.

Eligibility for Social Security Benefits as a Divorced Spouse

If you are divorced, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record, even if they have remarried. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Your marriage lasted at least 10 years before the divorce was finalized.
  2. You are currently unmarried.
  3. You are at least 62 years old.
  4. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
  5. The benefit you would receive based on your own work record is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s record.

It’s important to note that claiming benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record does not reduce or affect their benefit amount or the benefits their current spouse may receive.

Timing Your Social Security Benefits

When it comes to claiming Social Security benefits, timing is key. Although you can start receiving benefits as early as age 62, waiting until your full retirement age or even later can significantly increase your monthly benefit amount.

If you are divorced and eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, you have the option to claim those benefits while allowing your own benefits to continue growing until you reach age 70. This strategy can be particularly advantageous if your own benefit amount is likely to be higher than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s record.

For example, let’s say you are eligible for a monthly benefit of $1,200 based on your own work record at your full retirement age of 67. However, if you claim benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, you could receive $1,000 per month starting at age 62. By claiming your ex-spouse’s benefits early, you allow your own benefits to continue growing until age 70, at which point you could switch to your own higher benefit amount of approximately $1,550 per month.

The Impact of Remarriage on Social Security Benefits

Remarriage can affect your eligibility for Social Security benefits as a divorced spouse. If you remarry before age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled), you generally cannot collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record unless your new marriage ends.

However, if you remarry after age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled), you can continue to receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, even if your new spouse is also collecting Social Security benefits. This rule allows you to choose the higher benefit amount between your own record, your ex-spouse’s record, and your current spouse’s record.

Survivor Benefits for Divorced Spouses

In addition to retirement benefits, Social Security also provides survivor benefits to divorced spouses in certain situations. If your ex-spouse passes away, you may be eligible for survivor benefits if:

  1. Your marriage lasted at least 10 years before the divorce.
  2. You are at least 60 years old (or 50 if you are disabled).
  3. You have not remarried before age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled).

Survivor benefits can be a crucial source of income for divorced spouses in later life, especially if the deceased ex-spouse was the higher earner. It’s essential to understand your eligibility and claim these benefits when appropriate to ensure your financial security.

Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits

Navigating the complexities of Social Security benefits in divorce can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to maximize your benefits and secure your financial future:

  1. Gather information: Obtain a copy of your Social Security statement and familiarize yourself with your benefit options and eligibility requirements.
  2. Consider your timing: Evaluate your financial situation and retirement goals to determine the optimal time to claim your benefits.
  3. Explore all options: Work with a knowledgeable financial advisor to explore all available claiming strategies, including ex-spouse benefits and survivor benefits.
  4. Coordinate with your ex-spouse: If possible, communicate with your ex-spouse about your Social Security claiming intentions to ensure a coordinated approach that maximizes benefits for both of you.
  5. Stay informed: Keep up-to-date with any changes to Social Security laws and regulations that may affect your benefits, especially in the context of divorce.

Work with Us

At Purposeful Wealth Advisors, we understand the unique challenges that come with navigating Social Security benefits in the context of divorce. Our experienced team of financial professionals is dedicated to helping you make informed decisions and develop a comprehensive post-divorce plan that takes into account your individual needs and goals.

If you are navigating divorce and want to ensure that you are making the most of your Social Security benefits, we invite you to contact Purposeful Wealth Advisors today. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team is here to help you build a brighter, more secure financial future.

Don’t let the complexities of Social Security benefits in divorce overwhelm you. With the right guidance and support, you can make informed decisions that protect your financial well-being.

Every investor’s situation is unique, and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.  

The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. It is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Purposeful Wealth Advisors and not necessarily those of  Raymond James. This information was provided in part by Redfern Media.