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Social Security benefits considerations in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2020 | Divorce

If you are a Georgia resident in the process of getting a divorce, you may want to speak with a family law attorney about benefits to which you could be entitled from your ex. Benefits like Social Security payments can be difficult to anticipate, but you may be entitled to a portion of your ex’s SS benefits if his or her benefits are greater than yours.

SS benefits qualifications

You must be at least 62 to begin receiving SS payments, and you cannot be currently married when seeking to withdraw payments. You and your ex must also have been married for at least 10 years. If your ex is still working and not receiving SS benefits, you must wait until your divorce has been final for two years before you can receive any of his or her benefits.

Amount of benefits

To receive SS benefits from your ex, the portion of your ex’s benefits to which you are entitled must exceed your own. Since the maximum benefit that anyone can get from an ex is 50%, this means that your ex’s SS benefits must be twice as much as yours before you can receive any portion of them. If you begin withdrawing benefits before you reach full retirement age, which is 66 or 67 depending on when you were born, you will not receive the full benefit amount.

Calculating benefits

You are entitled to the greater of your own SS benefits or a portion of your ex-spouse’s benefits; you cannot add the two together. If you are entitled to some of your ex’s benefits, you must still withdraw your own SS benefits first before you get supplemental benefits from your ex. For instance, if your benefits are $600 per month and your ex’s are $1,600 per month, you would be entitled to half of your ex’s benefits at $800 per month, but only $200 of that would come from your ex. Your family law attorney may help you determine how to preserve your rights to SS benefits if you are entering into a divorce settlement.

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