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Baby Boomers and Social Security – Divorced-Spouse Benefits

In a previous post, we discussed Social Security (SS) Spousal Retirement benefits.  Today, we will be discussing Social Security Divorced-Spouse Benefits.  

1.  The best way to explain how SS Divorced-Spouse benefits work is with the following two examples:

a. As with married couples, a spouse (Spouse A)  is eligible for SS Divorced-Spouse benefits if

– Spouse A was married for at least 10 years to the ex-spouse (Spouse B).

– Spouse A is currently unmarried and is at least 62.

-Spouse B is at least 62 and has filed for SS Retirement benefits.

Under these circumstances, Spouse A can file for SS Divorced-Spouse benefits equal to a percentage of Spouse B’s SS Retirement pension.  So, if Spouse A files at her full retirement age (for Baby Boomers, this is between ages 66 and 67 depending on birth year), then she will receive the full SS Divorced-Spouse benefit amount.  However, if Spouse A files before her full retirement age (but no earlier than age 62), then the SS Divorced-Spouse benefit will be a permanently reduced amount.

b.  If a divorced spouse has worked, then he/she is also eligible for a SS Retirement pension.  (This applies to all persons who’ve paid Social Security taxes during their working years regardless of marital status.)   However, under no circumstances may anyone collect a SS Retirement pension and a SS Divorced-Spouse pension at the same time.  It’s either one or the other.

2.  You should also know that

if Spouse B has more than one ex-spouse,

– and he was married to each of those ex-spouses for more than 10 years,

– then each of the ex-spouses is eligible for SS Divorced-Spouse benefits (based on the criteria in 1.a. above).

Getting Legal Help

Experienced Estate Planning Attorney, Elga A. Goodman,  can work with you to meet your needs and those of your loved ones.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111.

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