Social Security & Divorce

Social Security benefits are available to people who were in the workforce for a minimum of ten years and are at least 62 years of age. The benefit one receives is based on a calculation of one’s age and earnings history, i.e. how much the person paid into the Social Security system.

So, what happens, for example, to a stay at home mom, who spends her working years raising children and managing a household, then reaches retirement age and gets divorced without ever having been in the workforce? Is she out of luck?

This question may sound odd to you, but over the past few decades there has been a marked rise in what is termed Gray Divorce, which is generally defined as divorce among older couples who had long-term marriages. Divorce at any age can be financially devastating, but whereas the younger you are the more time you have to rebuild and recover financially; older people may have very little or no time to recover.

Fortunately, the stay at home mom in our question above is not completely out of luck. According to Social Security laws, if you get divorced and were married for at least ten years, are aged 62 or older, and your ex-spouse qualifies for Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you can receive benefits based on what your ex-spouse paid into the system. The benefit received is one-half of your ex-spouse’s benefits depending on your exact age.

One caveat is that you cannot be remarried at the time of filing for benefits. Also, if your ex-spouse has not yet applied for benefits, you will need to have been divorced for at least two years before you qualify to apply for benefits.

Contact a Divorce Family Law Attorney in Raleigh to Help You with Your Divorce

If you want or need to get divorced or are already going through a divorce, Midtown Divorce & Family Law can help. Call us today at 919-900-7747.

How Does Divorce Affect Social Security Benefits?

If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if he or she has remarried) if:

• You are unmarried;
• You are age 62 or older;
• Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
• The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work. Continue reading “How Does Divorce Affect Social Security Benefits?”