Am I Entitled to My Spouse’s Social Security Benefits?
Social Security: The When and How
Being in a long-term marriage gives you certain rights when you divorce.
One of these is the right to your spouse’s social security benefits. Under certain circumstances, an ex-spouse may receive his or her spouse’s retirement benefits. This is a frequently overlooked aspect of divorce financials but one that could make a big difference. You should include retirement benefits in your discussion about dividing assets.
The Social Security Administration, or SSA, makes these benefits accessible to the ex-spouse when they retire. There are a few other qualifications you must meet, however, to be eligible for the benefits.
- You must be at least 62 years of age
- You must be unmarried
- Your spouse must be eligible for social security or disability benefits, and
- Your social security benefit amount must be less than your spouse’s
You will be entitled to half of your spouse’s benefit amount once you reach full retirement age if you meet these qualifications. You are eligible for these benefits even if your spouse remarries. You cannot collect these benefits if you remarry unless your marriage ends by death or divorce. You receiving benefits will not affect your spouse’s social security benefit amount. This is one of the benefits of having a long-term marriage. Nevertheless, social security benefits are still a surprisingly overlooked asset in long-term marriage divorces.
Don’t Overlook Assets
Don’t forget about other sources of retirement income, such as IRAs and pensions. You may be entitled to a share of those a well. The process for valuing and dividing these assets is complicated, though. You may need a professional advisor to help you. Discuss these issues with a mediator to ensure you are aware of all your options for having financial stability in the future. Also consult with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator if you have any questions about planning for your financial future in divorce. A mediator can provide you and your spouse the information needed to carefully plan for both of your financial futures. He or she can also call on trusted financial experts to give you advice. This is especially important for those already nearing retirement.
Do you have questions about preserving your financial future in divorce? If so, Mediation Advantage Services can help.
Polly A. Tatum has the skills and experience needed to help you and your spouse plan for your financial futures. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.