How Social Security Spousal Benefits Work During California Divorce

How Social Security Spousal Benefits Work During California Divorce

Tim:  Okay so let’s talk about a Social Security Benefits specifically there are two types of benefits, right?  There are Spousal Benefits and then there’s Survivor Benefits, is that correct?

Janelle: Correct. So you get these Spousal benefits if your divorced spouse is still alive. And then the Divorce Survivor Benefits are if they have passed away. So they’re a little bit different.

Tim: Okay, let’s tackle this into a chance here. Let’s first talk about a Divorce Spousal Benefits. So this is both parties are still living.

Janelle: Right.

Tim: Let’s talk about some of the like rules and requirements.

Janelle: Okay. Well the earliest you can receive the benefits is if you’re a 62 years old. You wait ‘til your full retirement age which depends varying on when you’re born.

So yeah, if you have any questions you can give me a call on what exactly your full retirement age is.   But then you are entitled to a 100% of your benefits or 50% of your divorce spouse benefits.

Tim: Okay, and I’d ask you some specific questions off camera, what would make—why would one want 50% of the other spouse’s or of their spouse’s versus 100% of their own.

Janelle: On some cases the divorce spouse was making a lot more money and has a higher Social Security Benefit than you’re going to have, so, you want to look at that if for some reason maybe they’re making $2000 and you’re only making $500, you’re entitled to half their benefits which will be a $1000 a month instead of the 500.

So it’s a case by case. You want to go in and get statements for both of your Social Security Benefits and determine which one would be better for you.

Tim: Okay, and so particularly if you have a family where a husband perhaps worked and maybe the wife took care of the kids there’ll be a scenario where this would you know could possibly be a factor.

They’d want to take a look at this.

Janelle: Definitely or if the husband made a lot more money and then the wife did or she had a lower paying job as well.

Tim: Okay. Now there are some requirements as far as length of marriage, is that correct? Can you give us some detail on that?

Janelle: Yes. You have to be married at least 10 years to be able to claim this in both situations.

So if you’re close to the 10 year point you might want to delay a little bit just to give yourself the option of just being able to claim that their benefit as well.

Tim: So with this 10 year rules 10 year in a day and this is applicable to them?

Janelle: Yes.

Tim: Okay. So it’s definitely something they want to consider when going through a divorce if you’re over 10 years to see how that place out.

Can you get copies from the State as far as your disability payments will they give you?

Janelle: For the Social Security go in the Social Security website.

Tim:  Social Security– uh-huh…

Janelle: So they’ll go on the website and you can get a copy of yours and your spouse’s benefits.

Tim: You can?

Janelle: And so they’re going to be –

Tim: It’s as simple as going online?

Janelle: Yeah you have to create an account for yourself but yeah you can go online.

Tim: Okay.

Janelle: Or else call the Social Security Department but it’s easier usually to go online.

Tim: Got you! Okay.