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Claiming Social Security benefits based on ex-spouses

Many Pennsylvania residents who have gone through a divorce may be interested to learn that they may be able to claim Social Security retirement benefits based on their ex-spouse's earnings, if the marriage lasted at least 10 years. When a person is still working but over the age of 62, they can either elect to receive benefits based on their ex-spouse or strategically wait to claim then at age 66.

Although people can draw retirement benefits based on their ex-spouse as early as age 62 while continuing to work, it is possibly a better idea to wait. As the current age of full retirement as set by the Social Security Administration is age 66, taking benefits early equates to paying the administration $1 of every $2 that would otherwise be received.

Waiting until age 66 to claim the retirement benefits based on an ex-spouse can be a good idea. If the person has made enough money to earn greater than the ex-spouse's benefits, they can then wait until age 67 to then claim their own, allowing more to accumulate. The amount of benefits they can expect to receive from their ex-spouse's earnings is half of the monthly amount the ex-spouse receives.

In addition to retirement accounts owned by the spouses, people who are going through a divorce should also take their future Social Security retirement benefits into account when negotiating their property division. It is important for people who are divorcing to think about the potential impact the divorce may have on their ability to retire in the future. People may want to discuss their retirement with their family law attorney so that they may be better prepared when the time comes. An attorney may be able to use the planning to help negotiate an agreement that will protect their client's future retirement as well as their current interests.

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