Most divorced couples probably already know that when it comes to claiming Social Security perks, a couple must have been married at least 10 years before the date of their divorce to be eligible for benefits on their ex’s Social Security earnings record.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below are a few more Social Security rules for divorced couples you probably haven’t heard of before.
On Couples Who Divorce the Same Person Twice
While divorcing your spouse and later on remarrying that person, only to file for another divorce once more may seem strange, it’s common enough that the Social Security Administration has outlined the following example:
“Robert, who married Lois on 5/6/80, was divorced 5/2/86. On 7/7/87, they remarried but were again divorced 9/5/90. The 10-year requirement is met. However, if Robert and Lois had remarried in 1988 instead of 1987 and were divorced again on 9/5/90, the 10-year requirement could not be met. The marriage must be in existence in each of the 10 years before the final divorce in order for the claimant to be entitled.”
On Maximum Benefit Amounts
For benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings record, you can only claim a maximum of 50 percent of the amount your ex-spouse would receive upon reaching full retirement age. However, this spousal benefit amount will go down if you file before reaching your own full retirement age.
On Remarrying and Collecting an Ex-Spouse’s Benefits
If you thought you could remarry and still receive your living ex-spouse’s social security benefits, think again. You can, however, collect on a deceased ex-spouse’s Social Security record if you remarried after turning 60 years old. Any remarriage before this age automatically stops any benefits based on your ex’s record.
On Tying the Knot to a New Spouse and Filing Benefits
If you have just married a new spouse, you need to wait approximately 12 months before you can file an application for spousal benefits based on your partner’s Social Security record.
On Changes Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015
Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, divorcees will no longer be allowed to file a restricted application for divorced spousal benefits. This once gave divorced spouses the benefit of having their own retirement amounts accrue delayed retirement credits. However, there is an exception to the rule: divorcees who turned 62 by the end of 2015.