Social Security benefits and divorce

| Aug 4, 2020 | Divorce |

Minnesota residents may understand that they could receive additional Social Security benefits from their spouse’s employment tax record, but few realize that it is not a requirement for an ex-spouse to be retired or disabled for the benefits to apply. The determination is based on the health or age of the ex-spouse who is applying for benefits. Reduced benefits can be claimed by virtue of age at 62 years, but divorced individuals who were married for over 10 years and are determined to be disabled can receive benefits beginning immediately.

This status can also impact individuals who were married twice for over 10 years. In almost every situation where a divorced spouse is eligible to receive benefits from multiple former marriage partners, one spouse will have earned more than the other. This gives the benefactor the option to choose between the payment records, which usually results in the claimant accepting the higher amount.

It is also important for retired claimants to understand that the benefits are set at 50% of a former spouse’s payments, but claimants are paid in addition to their own personal Social Security tax record. In addition, it is not necessary for the claimant to have a qualifying work history if they meet the 10-year marriage requirement criteria. Many retired individuals do not realize that these additional benefits are available because the Social Security Administration does not cross-reference the number of times an individual has been married. It is incumbent upon the claimant and their legal counsel to submit the information to the SSA when inquiring about additional benefits.

This is just an example of why it may be helpful to consult with a family law attorney in Minnesota who focuses their practice on Social Security law and how to maximize a claim upon eligibility. It is vital to have thorough and accurate information when communicating with the Social Security Administration; having legal representation who knows what the government expects and how they respond may be an advantage when filing for benefits.