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Divorce and Social Security

57300998_S.jpgWhen people get divorced in Missouri, they often assume that most ties between themselves and their former spouse have been severed. What divorced individuals may not understand, however, is that they may still be able to collect Social Security benefits on the income of their former spouse.

Spousal benefits are an important part of the Social Security system. Individuals who are married are able to receive a certain level of retirement benefits depending on their own work record as well as the work record of their spouse. In situations where a marriage has lasted for 10 years or more, both spouses may remain eligible for benefits providing that they meet three different requirements.

The first requirement is that the person claiming benefits on an ex-spouse's Social Security earnings must currently be unmarried. If the person claiming benefits remarried at some point but is now widowed or divorced, he or she is still entitled to claim benefits. The marital status of the ex-spouse does not matter.

The second requirement is that the claimant would be receiving a lower dollar amount if he or she claimed benefits based on his or her own work record. Finally, the claimant must be 62 years old or older. It should also be noted that making a claim on an ex-spouse's record does not diminish the other spouse's benefits.

Individuals who are going through a divorce and who have concerns about property division issues may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the financial circumstances of each spouse, including potential Social Security benefits, and recommend an appropriate settlement.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
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