Social Security Benefits May be Important Financial Planning Tool in Divorce:
Americans receive social security benefits based on their own quarters of work and earnings or their spouses. If you divorce after ten years or more of marriage either spouse can claim benefits based on the earnings of the other. In order for you to qualify, your former spouse must be at least 62 years of age. If your former spouse has not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years. Spousal benefits are usually ½ of the employee’s benefits. If you receive benefits based on your former spouse’s earnings record, their benefits are not reduced. If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s earnings record unless your later marriage ends, either by death, divorce or annulment.
Now you can get your Social Security Statement online. The Statement provides:
- Estimates of the retirement and disability benefits you may receive;
- Estimates of benefits your family may get when you receive Social Security or die;
- A list of your lifetime earnings according to Social Security’s records;
- The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid;
- Information about qualifying and signing up for Medicare;
- Things to consider for those age 55 and older who are thinking of retiring;
- General information about Social Security for everyone;
- The opportunity to apply online for retirement and disability benefits; and
- A printable version of your Social Security Statement.
In addition to helping with financial planning, the online statement also provides a convenient way to determine whether your earnings are accurately posted to your Social Security records. This feature is important because Social Security benefits are based on average earnings over a person’s lifetime. If the earnings information is not accurate, you may not receive all the benefits to which you are entitled.
If you are going through a divorce, it is important to have all of the financial facts. Consider obtaining your social security statement, as well as requesting that your spouse provide his/her social security statement.