Sunday, November 26, 2017

Social Security marriage wrinkles

  1. Are you approaching age 60?
  2. Are you currently unmarried? 
  3. Were you previously married for more than 10 years?
  4. Have you been divorced for more than two years?
  5. Did your ex-spouse have higher lifetime earnings than you did?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, or in some cases all but the second, then you may be entitled to a social security benefit payment that is higher than the benefit you would receive based on your own earnings.

If your ex-spouse is alive, you will be entitled to a benefit of one-half of what his or her benefit is, if that figure is higher than your own, beginning as early as age 60, or in some cases even age 50 if you are disabled. Taking that benefit will not reduce the benefit that the ex-spouse and his/her current spouse will receive.

If your ex-spouse is deceased, you will be entitled to a benefit that is 100% of his/her benefit, under the same conditions.

Normally, this benefit is available only if you have not remarried. If you remarry after age 60, however, it is available.

There are other wrinkles as well - other very rare exceptions to this divorced widow(er)'s remarriage penalty that will apply to those who remarry before age 60, based on the Social Security status of the new spouse. Contact us for additional details, if desired.