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Claiming Social Security Benefits After Divorce

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Distribution of Assets

According to Reuters and published in the Chicago Tribune, "if you’re divorced, it’s possible to claim Social Security spousal and survivor benefits from your ex." This strategy, according to Reuters, can up the ante when it comes to your benefits, and have you set for the years of retirement to come. With many divorcees nearing the retirement age (a different Tribune article reports that the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 has doubled between 1990 and 2010, meaning that there are a whole new slew of divorcees about to hit retirement this decade), knowing just what your rights are when it comes to Social Security is increasingly important.

According to Reuters, one woman "saw her monthly benefit rise to $2,200 form the $900 she’d anticipated" when she found out about Social Security spousal rules. The rule holds true whether your ex is alive or not—and can often "be the difference between living in poverty and a much more comfortable retirement," according to Reuters.

In 2011, according to the Social Security Administration and reported by Reuters and the Chicago Tribune, just under 7 percent of all persons receiving Social Security benefits were divorced, and "10.4 percent receiving survivor benefits were divorced." Once the divorce is over, especially if it’s some years before benefits would kick in, many people forget or don’t know that they have a claim to any Social Security benefits from their ex-spouse.

As one lawyer told Reuters, "women, especially, will be able to have higher benefits and enjoy a better standard of living if they make the call to the Social Security Administration and ask about their eligibility for a divorced spouse benefit." Social Security has long been touted as one of the most valuable assets a married couple has, seeing as how a spouse can claim half of his or her spouse’s benefits if he or she is 66 or older (the current retirement age).

If you or someone you know is considering divorce or has questions about post-divorce life, including Social Security benefits, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area divorce attorney today.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

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