Social security payments are very important for many older Alabama residents, but a divorce might lead to some confusion about whether they can still receive benefits. In cases of divorce, for people who did not work or mostly depended on their ex-spouse for financial support, benefits from that ex-spouse make up a substantial amount of their payments.
To receive benefits based on an ex-spouse’s record, there are some criteria that must be met. First, that marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. An individual’s own benefit should be a lower amount than that of their ex-spouse. They must be at least 62 years of age, and their ex must be eligible to receive retirement or disability benefits. To collect half of the amount of the former spouse’s benefit, they must be full retirement age, which is 67 for people born after 1960. If an individual claims the benefit before that, the amount they receive will be prorated as they will be receiving a benefit for a longer period of time. They can also receive benefits from the ex-spouse’s record if they have not claimed their own benefit, but to do this, they must have been divorced at least two years.
Remarriage usually means a person cannot receive benefits from their ex-spouse’s record, but if the person remarried, they might claim benefits based on the new spouse’s record. In case that marriage also ends in divorce, and the marriage also lasted at least 10 years, the person then would have the choice to claim benefits based on the record of either former spouse, but not both.
There are many details involved with claiming a Social Security benefit after divorce. A family law lawyer might be explain the options available and help their client decide which path is best for them financially.