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Understanding the spousal Social Security benefit

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2022 | Divorce |

One of the topics estranged Maryland couples might discuss is financial support and financial stability for the future. And as spouses get closer to retirement age, how to support themselves after the divorce is finalized is very important. As part of their considerations, they should discuss the spousal Social Security benefit, which is available to former spouses who meet certain criteria.

How do you claim the spousal Social Security benefit?

For spouses who did not work during the marriage, did not receive enough work credits or earned significantly less than the other spouse, the spousal Social Security benefit will be an important aspect of their finances during retirement, particularly if they are getting a divorce. However, to claim this benefit, they must meet the following criteria:

  • They were married for at least 10 years
  • They are at least 62 years old
  • They have not remarried
  • Their benefit, if using their own work record, would amount to less than half of their former spouse’s benefit
  • Their former spouse has already begun claiming their social security benefit

Rules regarding the benefit

Once a person has reached 62 years of age, they can begin claiming their Social Security benefit. However, if they have work credit from which they can receive benefits, both that work record and their spouse or former spouse’s work record will be reviewed to decide which benefit would result in the highest payment. If they choose to apply at 62, their benefit will see a reduction from the fullest amount. However, they can also choose to wait until full retirement age, either 66 or 67 years, depending on when they were born, to receive the fullest benefit possible, or 50% of the amount of their spouse’s benefit.

Spousal Social Security benefits can make an impact on your retirement finances. However, you need to be informed about how to apply and the conditions surrounding the benefit.


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