With the ever-growing number of "grey divorces," many Kentuckians may be wondering how divorce affects Social Security. As a matter of fact, in certain circumstances a person who is divorced may be able to collect benefits based on their ex's Social Security record, if that person is eligible for benefits. This may be of particular concern to spouses whose other retirement accounts were split during the property division process.
For a person to collect Social Security based on their ex's record after a divorce, they had to have been married for at least a decade. A person can collect on their ex's record even if their ex remarries. However, the person collecting on their ex's record must remain unmarried.
Furthermore, the person collecting on their spouse's record must be at least 62-years-old. Also, the person's ex must be eligible for Social Security benefits. Finally, the amount of benefits the person attempting to collect on their ex's record would have received on their own record must be less than what they can collect, based on their ex's record.
If a person remarries, in general they are unable to receive benefits based on their ex's record unless the new spouse passes away, the parties divorce or the marriage is annulled. In addition, if a person's ex isn't receiving Social Security benefits, but would otherwise be able to if he or she applied for them, that person's ex can still collect benefits if two years or more has passed since their divorce.
Social Security can be an important part of any person's retirement plan. Because of this, older couples that divorce after many years of marriage may be concerned as to whether or not they can collect benefits as a means to supplement their retirement income. By learning more about the Social Security process both before and after a divorce, spouses can understand their rights to Social Security benefits.