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Getting Social Security benefits from ex-spouses

| Aug 28, 2020 | Divorce

Maryland divorcees may be entitled to a portion of their ex-spouses’ Social Security payments, provided they are not currently married. Social Security benefits for ex-spouses are available to individuals who were married to their exes for at least 10 years if they meet certain conditions.

Eligibility for Social Security benefits

Individuals must wait until the age of 62 to start claiming Social Security benefits, though newly divorced seniors may need to wait a little longer. Unless a divorce has been final for at least two years, a person will need to wait until his or her ex starts claiming benefits for himself or herself before being able to receive a portion of the benefits. Additionally, the portion of the ex-spouse’s benefit amount that would go to a person must be greater than the amount he or she would receive based on that person’s own work record.

Amount of Social Security benefits paid

Someone who meets the requirements to receive a portion of an ex-spouse’s Social Security will receive the greater of his or her portion of the ex’s benefit amount and the benefits to which the person is entitled for himself or herself. For example, let’s say that Person A’s Social Security benefit amount is $500 per month, and Person A’s ex-spouse – Person B – has a benefit amount of $1,200. If Person A is determined to be entitled to 50% of Person B’s benefits, Person A would receive a total of $600 per month. In other words, the half of Person B’s benefits does not stack on top of Person A’s benefits.

Maximizing retirement benefits

Though people can start claiming Social Security benefits at the age of 62, they will not be deemed to have reached full retirement age (FRA) until they are either 66 or 67. Thus, the closer to FRA that a person waits to start withdrawing Social Security benefits, including divorce benefits, the more money that person will receive. If you are still in the process of getting a divorce, you may want to speak with a family law attorney about the benefits to which you may be entitled to receive from your soon-to-be ex.

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