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In the United States, the divorce rate ranges between 40-50% for first marriages, 60-65% for second marriages and 70-75% for third marriages; therefore, the reality of divorce affects all our lives. One of the big concerns during a divorce is what effect the divorce will have on each party’s retirement. The idea of splitting up the retirement savings account of the parties often fails to reassure divorcing people about their financial future, especially if there will not be an alimony award. Learning more about how Social Security benefits work can be welcome news for divorcees.

According to the Social Security Administration’s website, if you are a a divorced spouse, you can receive up to one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement or disability benefits, if you start receiving it at your full retirement age; however, it will not include delayed retirement credits earned by the ex-spouse.

To start receiving the benefits before the ex-spouse applies for Social Security, as long as the ex-spouse is eligible to qualify for his/her benefits, you are eligible to receive the benefits after you have been divorced for two years.

If your married a new spouse after divorcing the ex-spouse, you cannot receive the ex-spouse’s benefits, unless you divorce the new spouse, the new spouse dies or the marriage to the new spouse is annulled.

To qualify to receive one-half of the Social Security benefits of your ex-spouse, even if s/he has remarried: you must be divorced,  have been married ten (10) years to the ex-spouse, be unmarried, be 62 years old or older; your ex-spouse must be entitled to Social Security or disability benefits; and the benefit you will be entitled to receive on based your work must be less than the benefit you would receive on your ex-spouse’s work.

Note, if you are eligible for retirement benefits from Social Security on your own record AND for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record, as long as your ex-spouse’s benefit is higher than yours, you will receive from your record all of the benefits you earned AND you will receive the difference between what you would have received altogether based on your ex-spouse’s record and the amount you will receive based on your record, paid to you as an additional amount from the ex-spouse’s record so that the total equals what you would have received altogether from the ex-spouse’s record, if you did not have a record and your ex-spouse’s record paid out a greater benefit.

It seems simple enough, yet so many do not know this information.  Please share the information and find out more this topic straight from the Social Security Administration itself by clicking the following link: