Social Security benefits are supposed to represent 40% of the income available to retirees. However, life circumstances leave some retirees with no other choice but to depend on these payments to cover the entirety of their living expenses. The good news is that retirees who previously experienced divorce may be entitled to higher benefit payments than they know.
It is common knowledge that a married person can receive Social Security benefits based on the work history of their spouse. However, the fact that a divorced retiree may also be eligible for benefits is not as well known.
The divorced retiree must have been joined in marriage to their ex-spouse for at least 10 years to qualify for divorce benefits. The retiree must also not have remarried after the divorce. The third requirement is that any Social Security benefits the retiree would receive based on his or her work record must be equal to less than what they would receive based on the work history of the ex-spouse.
Retirees seeking Social Security divorce benefits may be entitled to as much as 50% of what is due to their ex-spouse upon reaching full retirement age. Individuals who are eligible for their retirement benefits based on personal work history are paid first from these benefits. If the Social Security Administration determines that they are entitled to more, additional benefits are paid according to the ex-spouse’s record of employment.
The retirement years of an individual are much more comfortable when there are no financial matters to worry about. For divorced retirees, this could mean receiving all the Social Security benefits to which the retiree is entitled. Individuals with questions regarding the benefits due to them or how to obtain benefits from the Social Security Administration may benefit from a consultation with a family law attorney.