Social Security and Divorce

Social Security and Divorce By Fabienne Swartz{1:23 minutes to read} Social Security is not an entitlement. In order to qualify for Social Security benefits, the recipient must have contributed into the system for a minimum of 10 years. That means if one spouse were to forgo working in order to raise a family, they would be penalized.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has a remedy, but it only applies to marriages that lasted 10 years or more:

  • The monied spouse will continue to receive their full benefit.
  • The non-monied spouse has a choice:
    • Collect benefits based on their own earnings
    • Collect an amount that equals half of the monied spouse’s benefit

In other words, if your spouse has been contributing, and you’ve been married at least ten years, you will get half of your ex-spouse’s Social Security payment, without affecting what your ex-spouse is getting. What’s more, any future spouses of your ex-spouse will receive the same benefits. The Social Security Administration is extremely generous with this program by allowing the non-monied spouse to choose whichever benefit is greater.

Social Security is only one piece to a sound, post-divorce financial strategy. To get a handle on things like how Social Security will affect your spending plan, or the tax implications of your unique situation, it is best to contact a professional, preferably one trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Fabienne Swartz JD (Belgium) CDFATM
Certified Divorce Financial AnalystTM
500 Mamaroneck Av.
Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
(914) 798-6940

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