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How Does Divorce Impact Social Security Benefits

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2022 | Divorce

Married couples share their resources during retirement. You can combine your retirement savings and pensions while also sharing expenses like your monthly mortgage and utility expenses.

When you file for divorce, you may quickly realize that your retirement savings are vulnerable to division. Even if your account is solely in your name, the amount that you contributed during your marriage could wind up divided as part of your divorce proceedings.

Taking stock of your financial circumstances so that you can rework your retirement budget is a smart decision. Will you have to worry about losing some of your Social Security retirement benefits as well?

Your ex can claim your Social Security benefits

There is a lot of confusion surrounding Social Security retirement benefits after a divorce. Some people worry that if their ex, who didn’t work and therefore doesn’t have their own Social Security benefits, makes a claim, they won’t have enough to live on during their retirement.

However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes the rights of dependent spouses while also protecting those who made contributions to Social Security by working.

Dependent spouses who do not have enough accumulated credits to qualify for Social Security retirement can receive benefits based on what their ex accrued. Lower-earning spouses who can receive benefits but not as much as their higher-earning spouse can make a partial claim against their own benefits and the benefits that their ex accumulated.

As the higher-earning spouse in your marriage, your Social Security retirement contributions can help subsidize what your ex receives for their retirement without diminishing what you receive. Even if they make a claim, you will still have the right to the full amount you would otherwise have received based on your contributions.

Understanding property division rules is important when preparing for divorce

If you have an unrealistic idea about what divorce will mean for your retirement savings or Social Security retirement benefits, you may waste time, effort and money fighting over issues needlessly. Learning more about the different rules that protect you in the event of a divorce, like the rights of dependent spouses regarding Social Security retirement benefits, will help you plan for a successful divorce and comfortable golden years.

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