Understanding Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses


If you are approaching retirement age, one important factor to consider in your contested Pasadena divorce is the value of the divorced spouse Social Security benefit.

As a divorced spouse, you can collect a benefit of up to 50% of your ex's full Social Security benefit. However, you must be currently unmarried, have an ex-spouse who is at least 62 years old, and not be eligible for a larger benefit based on your own employment history.

Collecting benefits as a divorcee won't affect your ex's benefits. Your benefit amount will be unchanged if your ex later decides to remarry and he or she does not need to currently be receiving Social Security for you to claim the divorced spouse benefit.

If you've been married and divorced twice, with both marriages lasting at least 15 years, you can collect Social Security using the larger benefit.

If you are currently employed, but earn less than your ex, you can file a restricted application to collect the divorced spousal benefit until you are age 70. Then you can opt to stop receiving the divorce spouse benefit and instead collect on your own higher benefit amount -- which would have increased 32 percent due to working past your full retirement age.

If your ex-spouse has died and you were married for at least 15 years, you can collect divorced survivor benefits. These benefits are worth up to 100 percent of what your ex spouse would have received. You can receive these benefits at 60 years of age, or 50 years of age if you are disabled. You must be unmarried to receive the benefits, but you can remarry after age 60 with no change in benefit.

Someone who is currently collecting the divorced spouse benefit will automatically be switched to the higher survivor's benefit if their ex-spouse dies. If you are currently collecting a benefit based on your own earnings history, you can choose to switch to the survivor benefit if it is a larger amount.

How Can We Help?

If you have a question about your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com. Our Pasadena divorce lawyers can help ensure that you receive the most favorable settlement possible.