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Are you entitled to extra SS benefits after divorce?

| Jul 29, 2020 | divorce

If you are getting a divorce in Florida and you have been married for at least 10 years, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits from your soon-to-be ex. To be eligible for a portion of your ex’s Social Security benefits, you must meet certain criteria, including that your own SS benefits cannot exceed your ex-spouse’s, nor can they exceed the portion of your ex’s SS benefits to which you would be entitled. Individuals who remarry after divorce cannot withdraw benefits.

When SS benefits can be withdrawn

You must be at least 62 to begin withdrawing SS benefits, and you must be at full retirement age, either 66 or 67, before you can withdraw the full value of those benefits. If you are entitled to benefits but your divorce has not been final for at least two years, you must wait until your ex-spouse begins withdrawing SS benefits before you can receive a portion.

Determining the benefits amount

The maximum portion of an ex-spouse’s SS benefits to which a person may be entitled is 50%. Thus, if a person’s own SS benefits are $500 per month, the ex’s benefits must be more than $1,000 per month in order for the person to receive any of those benefits. If you are entitled to some of your ex’s benefits, those benefits will not stack on top your own; rather, you will get the full amount of your ex’s benefits, but you will only receive an amount from your ex sufficient to reach that total when added to your own.

For instance, say your monthly benefits are $500, and your ex-spouse’s benefits are $1,200. Assuming you are entitled to 50% of your ex’s benefits, your total SS entitlement amount is $600 per month. You will first receive the $500 benefit from your own SS account, and then you will get $100 from your ex-spouse’s entitlement. If you need assistance determining how to calculate SS benefits or figuring out how to preserve your right to your ex’s benefits in a divorce settlement, you may want to consult with a divorce attorney.