Can divorce affect Social Security benefits?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | High-Asset Divorce |

No matter what you plan for retirement, major life events can occur unexpectedly and change your plans. One of the most common unexpected life changes is divorce. New Jersey residents counting on Social Security benefits for their retirement may suddenly find themselves wondering who will be able to claim those benefits after a divorce.

Can you claim Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse’s record?

Family law allows you to claim Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse’s record. You and your marriage must meet certain conditions, including:

• Your former spouse must be qualified and entitled to receive Social Security benefits.

• You divorced after 10 years or more of marriage.

• You must be divorced for at least two years.

• You cannot have remarried.

• You must be at least 62.

• Your Social Security benefit entitlement must be less than your former spouse’s Social Security benefit.

Will your claim affect your former spouse?

If you are on positive terms with your former spouse, you may be concerned about whether your social security claim will affect their retirement. The good news is that it will not. Regardless of the amount of Social Security you claim based on your former spouse’s record, your former spouse will not be affected.

How much will you receive?

Typically, you can claim up to 50% of your spouse’s Social Security benefits after a divorce. But other factors may affect how much you are able to claim, including:

• Work status

• Eligibility for your own benefits

• The age you start receiving benefits

• Your work status

• Pension claims

This can provide stability to your retirement

Getting a divorce after 10 years of marriage likely provided you with a significant amount of emotional distress. By claiming the benefits you are entitled to, you will be able to restore some stability to your retirement.