If you have recently filed for divorce and are coming close to retirement age, and your ex-spouse was the primary earning in your home, you may be eligible to receive his/her social security benefits instead of yours. Potentially, this may boost your income, at least for a while. Learn what you need to know about divorced spouse benefits, and how you may be able to use them to your benefit.
Do You Qualify?
Before you can receive benefits as a “divorced spouse,” you must meet certain qualifications. Your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, you must be at least 62 years or older at the time of applying, you must be unmarried at the time, and your benefits must amount to half (or less) than your ex-spouse’s benefits. Furthermore, your ex must be eligible to receive benefits and/or currently receiving them. Alternatively, if your ex is not filing, you will need to wait at least two years after the divorce is final before you can apply.
Making the Most of Your Social Security Benefits
Just like with filing for your own benefits, you will receive a reduced amount if you apply for divorced spouse benefits before your full retirement age (FRA). Furthermore, if you collect before your FRA, the Social Security Administration will look at your own benefit amount, weigh it against your ex-spouses, and then determine whether you will receive theirs or your own. Once this decision is made, you are locked in, and that could leave money on the table.
Once you reach full retirement age, you can get an overview of what your benefits are, and you’re your ex-spouse’s benefits are. This will give you the power to decide which benefit option you take. Note that you will want to carefully weigh your options here. You are only eligible to receive a maximum benefit of 50 percent of your ex’s full retirement benefits.
If your ex-spouse’s benefits come close to what your benefits would be, take the divorced spouse option instead of your own. By delaying your own benefits, you become eligible for a “Delayed Retirement Credit” (DRC) from the government, which gives you an eight percent bonus per year on your own benefits per year. This could serve as a tremendous benefit once your divorced spouse benefits end.
If you are worried that your ex-spouse will find out you are receiving their benefits, or that it may impact their retirement, rest assured: everything is completely confidential. Your ex is not informed that you are receiving benefits, and you will in no way impact their benefits, a surviving spouse’s benefits (should your ex pass away), or their current spouse’s right to receive divorce benefits.
Our Naperville Divorce Attorneys Can Help You Plan for Retirement
It is never too early to think about retirement – especially if you are filing for divorce. Our Naperville, IL divorce lawyers can help you plan for that future, regardless of whether you need help ensuring that you receive your fair share of a retirement plan or pension or simply need assistance in understanding how a divorce may impact your future. To learn more, schedule an initial consultation with Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today. Call 630-665-7676.