How Does a Divorce Effect Social Security Benefits?

Social Security benefits are available to most American workers. For married couples, even if only one spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits, the other spouse may also receive benefits based on the marriage. When couple’s divorce, in order to collect Social Security benefits from your former spouse, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your marriage must have been for at least 10 years
  • You must be at least 62 years of age (at the time that you want to start collecting your benefits)
  • You need to remain unmarried — however, if you do re-marry, then you may still be able to receive benefits from your first spouse
  • Your own Social Security benefits must be less than the amount of benefits you would receive from your ex-spouse

If you do qualify for Social Security benefits, the benefits you receive do not reduce the amount of Social Security benefits paid to your former spouse. Therefore, getting divorced does not reduce your benefits, it only allows your former spouse to collect Social Security benefits as well.

You should also know, that if your ex-spouse qualifies for their Social Security benefits, but, has not applied for them, that you can still receive your Social Security benefits, based on that ex-spouse (provided that you have been divorced for at least two years).
Finally, it is important to know that Social Security benefits are subject to Federal Law and are not subject to change based on changes in New York law.

If you are contemplating divorce and you are close to being married for 10 years, you may want to delay filing for divorce until you are married for more than 10 years. This way you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits from your former spouse.

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, you need an experienced Matrimonial and Divorce Attorney to guide you through the process. Call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office today at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site: The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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