Not knowing about or not fully understanding Social Security benefits for divorced people could potentially cost some people a valuable source of income.
Divorce can be extremely expensive. It has been known to cause many people to lose their retirement savings or to make early withdrawals from retirement accounts. As a result, many of these divorced people are more reliant on Social Security benefits when they want to retire. Unfortunately, even then many find it difficult to get by.
If a divorced person did not work very much during the marriage and instead relied on the other spouse to be the primary breadwinner, then that divorced person might not be eligible for enough of a Social Security benefit to live on.
Nevertheless, as Money points out in “Will My Divorce Affect My Social Security Benefits?” an option is available.
A married person can forgo his or her own Social Security benefit and instead receive Social Security benefits equal to half of the spouse’s. Divorced people have the same option in many cases.
If you were married for at least 10 years, have been divorced for at least two years, and both you and your ex-spouse are at least 62 years old, you can choose to receive a Social Security benefit equal to half of your ex-spouse’s monthly benefit.
You can do so regardless of whether your ex-spouse has started receiving benefits. If you have been married more than once, you can choose which ex-spouse’s benefits to use as long as the above requirements are all met.
If you have questions about divorce and Social Security benefits or any other benefit questions, visit an Alabama elder law attorney for answers.
Reference: Money (Aug. 23, 2016) “Will My Divorce Affect My Social Security Benefits?”
If you have an aging parent or loved one, click the link to get a free copy of our Caregivers Guide which lays out the questions to ask and steps to take if you will become a caregiver. You can also register for one of our free estate planning workshops by calling us at 256 251-2137 or visiting events.adamsmillerlaw.com/Workshops.html.