Per federal law, married couples qualify for social security benefits once one partner reaches retirement age and files for benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) lists 66 as the full retirement age for people born before the year of 1955. People born in 1960 will reach full retirement age once they become 67. Workers that choose to go through early retirement risk losing a percentage of their Social Security benefits. The SSA also allows social security recipients to work while receiving benefits, increasing their benefits package once they fully retire.
How Does a Spouse Receive Social Security?
If you and your spouse have been married for 10 years or longer, they will qualify for spousal social security benefits. To qualify for benefits, the spouse must be at least 62 years of age. You can petition the SSA to receive your retirement benefits in addition to that of your spouse. However, if you apply before the full retirement age, you will receive permanently reduced benefits. Your benefits cannot exceed one-half of your spouse’s retirement income.
Spousal Benefits After Divorce
Couples that have been married for 10 or more years that file for divorce can still claim each other’s social security spousal benefits. Ex-spouses can file two years after the divorce, but they must be unmarried during the time of filing. Ex-spouses born prior to 1954 can petition to have their own retirement benefits delayed and request to receive their ex-spouse’s benefits.
Unique Social Security Benefit Circumstances
Although divorced spouses are entitled to social security benefits, people may be surprised at different rules surrounding the exception. Couples who divorce and remarry each other are still eligible for social security. If a couple marries and divorces before the 10-year mark, they do not qualify. Couples that decide to remarry within a year after the divorce will have the duration of both marriages reviewed before the SSA distributes benefits.
Civil service workers who normally do not pay social security taxes will have their benefits reduced by the SSA. Spouses will be able to qualify for the reduced benefit amount. The spouse’s benefit amount is then reduced by two-thirds. Spouses that remarry cannot claim their former partner’s social security benefits until their later marriage has ended. If you have a child eligible for benefits, you can apply at any time, but the SSA will reduce your spousal benefits. The 10-year marriage rule does not apply for children under the age of 16 to be eligible for social security benefits.
These unique provisions are vital to understanding your social security claim. There are many factors the SSA considers before distributing benefits. As a claimant, you must familiarize yourself with the benefits process and consult a lawyer to help secure your benefits.
Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at the Hartman Group Help Clients Collect Their Social Security Benefits
The law offices of the Hartman Group are dedicated to helping you recover social security benefits and understand your rights as a claimant. We are a team of Cherry Hill divorce lawyers that understand New Jersey divorce law and how it affects your social security benefits. Schedule a consultation by calling 856-235-4511 or fill out the online form on our website. We are in Moorestown, New Jersey and proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey.