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Divorced Social Security recipients could qualify for extra benefits

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2020 | Divorce |

Statistics show that 21% of married couples in Texas and around the country rely on Social Security to provide 90% of their income. While Social Security improves quality of life, the benefits only pay 40% of salary. Beneficiaries will want to ensure that they get the most money, even if they are no longer married.

Divorced recipients may be entitled to more than they think. A divorced person may be able to draw from their ex-spouse’s benefits even without their own work history. However, the divorcee must have been married for at least 10 years and not currently married. The ex-spouse remarrying won’t impact the ability to draw benefits.

Recipients must be 62 years old to collect benefits from the ex-spouse, and the ex-spouse must begin drawing the checks first. An exception to this rule applies to an individual who has been divorced for two years and their former spouse qualifies for benefits but hasn’t started drawing checks yet.

Those who qualify for divorce benefits can draw up to 50% of their ex-spouse’s benefit. However, to get the full benefit, the recipient must be full retirement age. Full retirement age is typically 67 or a few months before age 67 based on birth year.

Beneficiaries still may be eligible for benefits even if they have a work record. The money from the ex-spouse’s benefit will be added to that amount. In an example, the recipient qualifies for $1,000 in Social Security, and the ex-spouse qualifies for $3,000 at FRA. The recipient gets $1,000 based on their work record plus $500 of the ex-spouse’s benefit. They cannot draw both their full benefit amount plus their share of the ex-spouse’s benefit.

Sometimes, during a divorce, benefits could get denied. If a recipient feels that they are unfairly being denied benefits they qualify for, a family law attorney may be able to help prove their case.