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Divorce and the impact on Social Security

Believe it or not, the older generation is more prone to divorce when they start their retirement years. A divorce for Alabama spouses could mean a difference in their Social Security benefits. Sometimes, the amount received and the timing could be influenced by several factors.

One factor that can have an effect is divorcing prior to the 10-year anniversary. This can cause individuals to not be able to receive a portion of their ex’s benefits. However, if spouses keep the marriage going for a minimum of 10 years, they can be eligible for benefits as long as they are at least the age of 62 and have not remarried. Another example is the death of a former spouse; when an ex-spouse dies, the other spouse may still be able to collect under divorced survivor laws, based on the same 10-year marriage requirement.

In addition, the widow is also still entitled as long as the individual did not get remarried before reaching the age of 60. If the former spouse filed for Social Security benefits at the age of 66, the other would be entitled to receive 100 percent of those benefits once he or she passes. Individuals may also be entitled to collect delayed retirement benefits if the ex-spouse waited until later in age to file.

Alabama spouses can only receive one Social Security benefit at a time — their own or their spouse’s — and that would be the one with the higher amount, before reaching the age of 66. It’s important for spouses to remember that, if they have already filed and are still working, they can potentially have their benefits decreased by $1 for every $2 that’s earned in excess of the annual limit. Spouses could potentially benefit in the long-run from doing thorough research on their local Social Security laws regarding divorce.

Source: The Motley Fool, “Social Security: 3 Ways Divorce Can Affect Your Benefits”, Amanda Alix, Aug. 9, 2014