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Eligibility for spousal retirement benefits after divorce

On Behalf of | May 24, 2019 | Divorce

Many Kentuckians rely on Social Security for retirement income. A married individual is eligible to take spousal benefits if their spouse’s benefits are higher than their own. Those who are divorced may also be able to collect spousal benefits accumulated from the work records of a former spouse if they meet certain conditions.

If a marriage lasted at least 10 years, spousal benefits will be available from the Social Security Administration based on the earnings records of an ex. The ex-spouse’s benefits must also be higher than what the spouse is entitled to receive on their own. Finally, the spouse who is seeking spousal benefits must be at least 62 years old to begin collecting payments.

Someone who remarries will lose their eligibility for spousal benefits based on a former spouse’s earnings records. However, if they divorce again, they can collect spousal benefits based on either of their former spouses’ records. However, an individual cannot collect benefits on more than one former spouse. If someone waits until they reach their full retirement age, they can collect half of a former spouse’s full benefits amount. Collecting spousal benefits will not impact the former spouse’s benefits.

The availability of spousal benefits is an important consideration for soon-to-be ex-spouses in Kentucky. Partners who are near the 10-year mark for their marriage might want to stay together a little longer before they file for divorce. That way, the lower-earning spouse will be eligible for spousal benefits. Spouses who have been married longer than 10 years might want to talk to their divorce attorneys about retirement. A lawyer may discuss different property division strategies that could help the client to retire on time.