The Social Security Administration reported that around 21% of married couples depend on Social Security payments for almost all of their retirement income. For unmarried people, that number jumps to nearly 50%. It is important for people to be certain they are receiving all of the Social Security benefits they are entitled to, and people who are divorced often overlook some of the compensation that is available to them.

There are a few requirements that must be met for a person to collect Social Security benefits. First, the marriage must have lasted for a period of at least 10 years. Second, the person collecting benefits must not be married at the time. The marital status of the ex-spouse has no bearing on the person’s ability to collect. Third, the amount that the person would receive in benefits from their own Social Security must be less than the amount he or she would receive based on the record of the ex-spouse.

Typically, a person must be at least 62 years of age before he or she can begin claiming Social Security benefits, and those claiming on their ex-spouses’ records usually have to wait for the ex-spouse to claim their benefits first. Those who are eligible to claim Social Security divorce benefits can collect as much as 50% of the amount their ex-spouse would receive by claiming his or her full retirement age benefit.

People in Georgia who have questions about claiming Social Security benefits might want to schedule a consultation with a lawyer. A lawyer who has experience practicing family law may help by reviewing the client’s circumstances and determining whether a benefit based on an ex-spouse’s record may be available. A lawyer might also be able to file a claim with the Social Security Administration or appeal a denial of benefits on behalf of the client.