Social Security and Divorce-Common Question #6 -

Social Security and Divorce–Common Question #6

Social Security and Divorce

Most Common Questions-Caller #6

Question From Al–Can He Get Spousal Support if He’s Divorced? He’s 58 and just getting his feet wet learning about retirement and doesn’t know where to start. (He needs to read my book!) He had been married for 30 years. Both he and his wife have worked enough to qualify for Social Security on their own records. Does he qualify for spousal support?

AnswerThe basic rules for Spousal Support are:

  • You must be at least 62 years old.
  • You must have been married for at least 10 years.
  • You must be unmarried.
  • You must be divorced for at least two years.

The new rules for 2016 have changed eligibility for spousal support. Since you are 58, you will not be eligible for either the File and Suspend or the Claim and Switch strategies whereby you could collect on your spouse’s record and later switch to your own.

You may be eligible for spousal support, but it will most likely not be in your best interest. Under the new rules when you file for benefits, it will be considered that you filed for all benefits you may be due—benefits on your wife’s record or benefits on your own.

What You Get-Spousal support is 50% of your spouse’s payment amount.  You will be entitled to 100% of benefits on your own record, which will most likely be higher than half of your wife’s. Social Security will give you the higher of the two benefits when you apply. If benefits on your own record are higher than what you would receive on your wife’s record, you will not be eligible for spousal support.

Survivor Benefits—Divorced individuals may be entitled to a Survivor Benefit when their ex-spouse passes away.

The rules for Survivor benefits are different than spousal benefits. See next week’s post for more on Survivor Benefits.

Question-Al asks if there is any literature or websites where he could go to get more information.

Answer – My book, The New Retirement Basics: The Quick and Easy Guide to Social Security and Medicare 2016 would be perfect in this case. It gives a complete overview of the Social Security system and will familiarize Al with the big picture so that he can understand the options available to him. It’s a great place to start. covers common Social Security and Medicare questions.

Al—Great, I’ll get a copy.

Josh Jalinski, The Financial Quarterback on WOR Radio, NY can offer more detailed information about your particular financial situation at 888-988-JOSH.

To listen to this show click here  



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