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Can one still collect Social Security benefits after a divorce?

More and more "baby boomers" in Gulfport are undergoing some significant life changes these days. Many are retiring and, due to the "grey divorce" phenomena, some may be contemplating divorce. Individuals count on receiving Social Security benefits to augment their retirement income. However, what happens to these Social Security benefits should the recipient divorce?

In a divorce, retirement accounts are often split. When it comes to Social Security benefits, if one is married for at least a decade, if both spouses are at least age 62 and are currently unmarried, they may be able to receive a benefit amounting to 50 percent of the ex-spouse's benefits. Moreover, if one has remarried, but that second marriage came to an end, either via divorce or death, it may still be possible to obtain Social Security benefits based on the ex's record.

Some may wonder if they are able to collect such benefits, if their relationship with their ex is still rather toxic. But, they need not worry. It may not be necessary to contact the ex to find out if he or she has started receiving Social Security checks. If one has been divorced for at least 24 months, they can seek benefits based on the ex's record, even if an ex has not yet applied for benefits, despite qualifying for them. The one caveat to keep in mind that if one claims Social Security benefits early, they will see a reduction in the amount of benefits.

Social Security benefits can be an important part of anyone's retirement plan. While a person's retirement accounts may be subject to property division in the event of a divorce, it is good to know that for some Social Security benefits may still be an option.

Source:, "Will My Divorce Affect My Social Security Benefits?," accessed on Aug. 23, 2016

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