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Collecting extra Social Security payments via divorce benefits

| Aug 6, 2020 | Divorce |

Social Security benefits prove incredibly helpful to people who cease working after reaching their retirement years. Some people rely almost exclusively on Social Security deposits to survive, which can be financially challenging. Increasing the amount of rightfully due Social Security benefits seems prudent, and divorced individuals may discover that they could increase their monthly payment amounts.

Being divorced does not automatically mean that someone is eligible for added Social Security benefits. Only those who meet specific criteria can explore options for increasing their payments. The eligibility requirements, while strict, are not complicated. The process involves filing a claim based on an ex-spouse’s work record. To do so, the marriage had to last a minimum of 10 years. The applicant cannot be currently married, but if the ex-spouse remarries, the remarriage won’t have any bearing.

Also, the amount that the claimant would receive based on his or her work record must be less than the divorce benefits based on the ex-spouse’s record. Age 62 is the earliest anyone can claim benefits, and a requirement usually exists that the divorce claimant must wait until the ex-spouse claims benefits. The exception here is if the divorce occurred two years ago and the eligible ex-spouse has not yet claimed benefits.

With divorce benefits, a claimant could receive up to 50% of what the ex-spouse does. There’s also a rule where someone may receive his or her own benefits and then an additional portion of divorce benefits. An individual claimant would likely benefit from reviewing their particular situation carefully to determine if they are eligible.

A family law attorney may be able to deal with the Social Security Administration on behalf of a client regarding additional divorce benefits. The attorney might explain all legal statutes related to the benefits. The attorney may also complete the necessary applications for the benefits and review the application to make sure the client qualifies.