Social security is often misunderstood. Many clients struggle to understand their own benefits, let alone their spouse, or ex spouse’s. Unfortunately, this means many Americans are failing to receive their full benefits. According to a survey conducted by MassMutual more than 55 percent of Americans were unaware that they could receive refinement benefits based on their ex-spouses earning history. We understand that divorce can cause financial strain, which is why it is so important to understand your rights and benefits under the law.
These benefits from your ex-spouses’ earning history aren’t insubstantial either. According to the Social Security Administration, if you started drawing on your benefits at full retirement age, then your benefit is one-half of your ex-spouses full retirement or disability benefit.
There are a list of conditions of eligibility for these benefits determined by the Social Security Administration; specifically, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years to an ex-spouse who is unmarried and age 62 year or more.
This means, not only does your ex have to remain unmarried, but so do you. If you end up remarrying you won’t be able to collect those benefits unless the subsequent marriage also ends (through annulment, death or divorce).
For those that fit within these criteria it is important to understand your rights, so that you can gain access to the full benefits for which you are entitled. You can visit the social security website for more information on calculating your benefits.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your divorce in the Greater Seattle Area, we suggest hiring an experienced family law attorney. Please contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC for a free consultation.