At first glance, the rules to collecting Social Security from your spouse's retirement fund might seem straightforward. Requirements state that if you stay married for ten years, you will be entitled to a portion of those benefits. But do those years have to be consecutive? Or can you collect for partial years? What if your spouse dies? Can you collect benefits then? If so, how much and under what circumstances?
If you are nearing retirement age and planning a divorce (or if your contribution to Social Security has been substantially lower than your spouse's over the last several years), you may wish to consider your retirement options, including how Social Security may or may not factor in. At the very least, this knowledge can assist you in developing a long-term financial plan before and during your divorce.
The Ten Year Rule
In most circumstances, you must be married ten consecutive years to collect your ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. This includes the collection of benefits after a divorce and/or after an ex-spouse's death. Some exclusions may apply if:
Collecting Social Security after a Divorce
If you are divorced but were married for at least ten years, you may be able to collect an amount equal to one-half of your ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. However, you must also meet the following requirements: your spouse must be entitled to benefits, the amount you are entitled to on your own benefit record must be less than your ex-spouse's record, and you must be at least 62 years of age. It is also important to note that, in most circumstances, you must be unmarried in order to collect any of your ex-spouse's benefits. Your ex's marital status does not affect your ability to collect.
No Social Security? Plan Accordingly
A divorce is a complex matter, not just because of the emotional ties, the possible anger or resentment, or even the division of property and assets. A divorce is also complicated because it is an entire re-writing of what you thought life would look like. It also requires you to accommodate for the choices you made while in the marriage—some of which have the ability to impact your life long after the divorce is over.
Whatever your situation, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can assist you. With more than 200 years of combined experience, our DuPage County divorce attorneys offer the kind of personalized and compassionate representation needed to make those crucial decisions about your divorce and your future. Learn more by scheduling your free initial consultation. Call our offices at 630-932-9100 today.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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