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Social Security benefits on a spouse’s record after divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2020 | Divorce, Firm News |

One element of divorce for people in Oregon may be dividing retirement savings. In some cases, people may also be able to claim retirement on an ex-spouse’s work record.

The Social Security office does not necessarily keep track of this, so individuals may need to follow up on this themselves. A few conditions must be in place. The marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years. The individual must be at least 62 years old although waiting for retirement age will make the checks bigger. The ex-spouse must have begun claiming benefits or the marriage must have been over for at least two years and the ex-spouse must be eligible for benefits. The individual must also not have remarried. Benefits are unaffected by the ex-spouse’s remarriage.

The person can collect as much as 50% of the benefit that the former spouse would receive on reaching full retirement age. The individual’s own benefit must be less than this. The amount received based on an ex-spouse’s record will only be enough to bring the individual’s own benefit up to this amount and not full payments of both amounts. In other words, if 50% from an ex-spouse is $1,200 and a person’s benefit is $1,000, an extra $200 will be added to that. A person who never worked outside the home might get the full $1,200.

Social Security benefits may be an issue just after divorce or it may not arise until decades later, but the couple is likely to also have to divide other types of property that can have implications during retirement. For example, if one person is near retirement and decides to keep the home when the mortgage is still not fully paid, that person should make sure that the payments are affordable along with other costs, such as taxes, insurance and upkeep.