Law Offices of Robert M. Kaplan, P.C.
Schaumburg Family Law Attorney

Social Security and Divorce

July 28, 2022
Posted By: Law Offices of Robert M. Kaplan, P.C.

Social Security can be challenging to navigate, especially if you're divorced or contemplating divorce. The Law Offices of Robert M. Kaplan, P.C. are social security and divorce experts, and our team can provide you with the legal guidance you require. We invite you to contact us today to arrange a no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. Social Security laws can change often, but we're here to help you understand your situation and options so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and your loved ones. 

If Your Former Spouse Is Still Living 

The Social Security Administration reports that more than half of married couples and almost three-quarters of single retirees get at least half of their income from the program in retirement. Social security gives many divorced couples the same benefits they'd be entitled to if they remained married. 

You can claim spousal benefits based on your ex's work history––even if they remarry––if you were married for at least 10 years. Plus, your benefits aren't diminished if your ex's new spouse also claims benefits. However, if you remarry, you can claim spousal benefits based on your new spouse's record after a brief waiting period, and you lose the ability to claim benefits on your ex's record. If your ex-spouse had a higher income than your new spouse, your benefits could be reduced. You can also still claim benefits if you are currently unmarried or age 62 or older. 

As a brief overview, you can still receive benefits based on your ex-spouse's work record if:

  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer. 
  • You are currently unmarried.
  • You are 62 or older.

If Your Former Spouse Is Deceased 

If your spouse is deceased, you're entitled to receive survivor benefits, typically equalling your spouse's retirement, which is usually higher than spousal benefits. Widows and widowers face some potential pitfalls if they remarry. For most surviving spouses, if you aren't yet age 60 and remarried, you will no longer be entitled to survivor benefits. Instead, you'll have to claim spousal benefits from your new spouse and potentially claim survivor benefits on your new spouse's record for the future. 

As a brief review, if your former spouse is deceased, you must meet the following conditions to receive benefits: 

  • You're at least age 60, or age 50 if disabled. 
  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer. 
  • Your retirement benefit is lower than what you'd claim on your ex-spouse's record. 
  • You remarry after age 60, or age 50 if disabled. You cannot receive such benefit if you remarry before age 60 or age 50 if disabled. 

If You're Age 60 or Older 

Social Security rules change if you're 60 or older. Even if you remarry, you're still entitled to survivor benefits, but you're not allowed to double-dip. You're only allowed to be entitled to additional benefits if they exceed what you're receiving as a surviving spouse. Sometimes, you can reclaim your benefits if you lose them. For example, if the following marriage also ends in divorce or death, you can claim benefits based on your previous spouse's record. 

Contact Our Schaumburg Law Office

Understanding the intricacies of Social Security as a spouse can be challenging. Considering the financial implications of marital decisions is essential for making informed decisions. If you are contemplating divorce, in the process of divorce, or involved in post-decree proceedings, the changes in the law need to be addressed immediately in your matter. Contact Robert M. Kaplan, and we will be happy to discuss your situation with you and render you the legal assistance you require.

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