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The rules for collecting Social Security benefits for divorced spouses are similar to those for married couples, with a couple of differences. To be eligible to collect spousal benefits on your ex-spouse, your marriage must have lasted ten years, both spouses must be at least 62 years old, and the person claiming the benefits must be unmarried.
Another unique rule for divorced couples is that a divorced spouse can claim benefits on a former spouse’s earnings record even if that former spouse has not yet claimed retirement benefits – which is not possible for married couples. However, the couple must be divorced for at least two years to take advantage of this rule. More than one ex-spouse can claim spousal benefits on the same former spouse’s earnings record.
Anyone who claims Social Security benefits before full retirement age must collect the largest benefit to which they are entitled (whether based on their work record or their ex-spouse’s record) – they cannot choose which benefit to receive.
The maximum spousal benefit for an ex-spouse who reaches full retirement age is 50% of the former spouse’s full retirement age amount. The client can collect spousal benefits on a former spouse as early as 62, but those benefits will be worth just 35% of the ex-spouse’s benefit because they were collected four years early. If you collect benefits before your full retirement age and continue or return to work, you may be subject to an earnings cap penalty. Once you reach full retirement age, there is no longer an earnings cap penalty.
A divorced spouse can also receive survivor benefits on their former spouses as early as age 60, provided certain conditions are met. Also, a surviving spouse will not lose their survivor benefits if they remarry, provided they wait until age 60 to remarry.
At Carr Wealth Management, LLC, anyone who sets goals for themselves qualifies to be a client. Whether you need help creating a comprehensive financial plan or need advice on individual matters, we can help. Choosing the best strategy for maximizing social security benefits is essential to planning for your future. Please contact us by email or phone us at (925) 484-1671 to schedule a no-charge consultation or if you have a question about Social Security Benefits.
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