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Receiving Social Security benefits post-divorce

Older Indiana couples who are thinking about divorce should first learn about the ways divorce can affect Social Security benefits before proceeding with the process. Depending on how long you have been married, Social Security retirement and survivor benefits might be available based on your ex-spouse’s record.

The requirements

You have a choice between using your own record or your ex-spouse’s record to claim Social Security benefits. If you choose to claim based on your ex-spouse’s record, you will receive an amount worth half their total retirement benefit. However, in many cases, this might be higher than the amount you might receive on your own record if your former spouse earned significantly more than you. The requirements that must be met to access Social Security retirement benefits based on an ex-spouse’s record include:

  • A marriage that lasted at least 10 years
  • Remaining unmarried after the divorce
  • Being at least 62 years old
  • Being eligible for retirement or disability benefits

Claiming survivor’s benefits on an ex-spouse’s work record has slightly different requirements. For example, you can remarry if you remarry after the age of 60. As well, the benefit you receive can be worth up to 100% of the total benefit.

Why should you consider Social Security benefits during divorce negotiations?

Social Security benefits can be part of your safety net for the future. Overlooking them or misunderstanding the requirements on how to become eligible could significantly impact your financial situation during retirement. Considering how helpful these funds can be during this stage in life and considering that the divorce rate continues to rise for older couples, ensuring that you meet the requirements for eligibility might influence when you decide to seek a divorce.

Planning for retirement after a divorce can cause anxiety and fear. However, realizing that Social Security benefits might still be accessible might help give you more confidence.