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How Can a Divorce Affect My Social Security Benefits?

The divorce process can be complex to manage on your own without a trusted attorney. Figuring out the logistics of both spouses’ finances can be especially daunting. Many people wonder how their social security benefits will be affected after a divorce if they were entitled to their benefits during the marriage. To learn more about the divorce process and social security, read on or reach out to an Ocean County Divorce Attorney today.


Yes, it’s possible that a divorce could impact the social security benefits you receive because you must meet specific qualifications to claim your ex-spouse’s benefits. If you are at least 62 years old, haven’t remarried, and were married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, then you’re likely entitled to at least a portion of your former spouse’s benefits. To claim your ex-spouse’s benefits, you’ll need to gather some documentation (like proof of citizenship, divorce papers, tax returns, etc.) before filing an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may be able to receive up to half of your spouse’s benefit amount. However, if your spouse is entitled to more benefits than you, then you can expect to receive your own benefits first before being paid the difference. If you are entitled to more benefits than your spouse, then you’ll likely only receive your own benefits.


If you claim your ex-spouse’s benefits, their benefits will not be impacted at all, and they will still receive the entire amount they are owed. Your ex-spouse will not even be notified if you decide to claim their benefits; they’ll only know if you tell them. Furthermore, one spouse claiming benefits has no effect whatsoever on the other spouse claiming theirs because both parties will always get what they’re entitled to receive. Social security benefits may be reduced for other reasons, like if you owe child support or if you earn too much from regular wages.


If your ex-spouse gets remarried, you still may be eligible for their benefits depending on the circumstances. However, if you remarry, it’s unlikely you’ll be eligible to still receive your ex-spouse’s social security benefits.  In the event that your current or former spouse passes away, you may also be eligible for survivor’s benefits, which you can receive before you’re 62. You can generally expect to receive survivor’s benefits once you turn 60 unless you have a disability, then you can receive them as early as 50. If you get remarried after you start receiving benefits, it likely won’t affect your survivor’s benefits. You could lose out on your survivor’s benefits if you remarry before age 60 (or age 50 if you have a disability).

Are you currently going through a divorce and looking for an experienced and compassionate attorney for help? The Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC is here to aid you through the entire divorce process. Contact us today for more information.