As an ex-spouse you might have a lot of questions about receiving a pension after divorce. If you’re the person with the pension, then you might want to know if your ex-spouse is going to be getting any of those benefits. If you’re the person seeking the benefits, then it’s important to know exactly what you are entitled to receive.
Here are the most common questions from ex-spouses about pension after divorce (along with their answers, of course).
Am I Entitled to Benefits After My Divorce?
According to the Social Security Agency, you are entitled to retirement and/or disability benefits after divorce if you meet the following criteria:
- The spouse is entitled to receive benefits.
- You were married to your spouse for ten or more years.
- You are age 62 or older.
- Benefits you yourself are entitled to are smaller than what you’re entitled to through your ex-spouse.
- You are not married. If you ever remarried, that subsequent marriage has ended by divorce, death, or annulment.
I Got Remarried. Now What?
If you got remarried, then you are generally not entitled to your ex-spouse’s benefits anymore. However, if your current marriage ends then you may once again be eligible for ex-spouse benefits. Your current marriage may end due to divorce or death. If it does, then check again to see if you are entitled to pension after divorce.
My Ex-Spouse Qualifies for Benefits but Hasn’t Applied
Sometimes people don’t apply for their retirement or disability benefits, even if they qualify to receive them. There are many reasons for this. In fact, your spouse might just feel vengeful and not want you to get your portion of the pension after divorce. However, they’re out of luck. If you have been divorced for at least two years, then you can apply to receive benefits on their record.
I Have My Own Benefits. Do I Still Get Pension After Divorce?
If you are entitled to your own retirement benefits then Social Security will pay those out to you first. However, you should always check to see if you are entitled to your partner’s pension after divorce. If the money that you would get from that is more than what you get from your own benefit, then Social Security will also pay the difference.
Remember that the amount you receive from your own retirement will come first. That’s important to consider when budgeting, organizing finances, doing taxes, etc. However, you’ll get the total amount that you’re owed, with the rest coming from your ex-spouse’s record of benefits.
Note that there is one exception to the above. If you are full retirement age and were born before 1/2/54 then you have the option to choose to receive only your divorced spouse’s benefits. You can delay receiving your own benefits until a later date.
I Still Work. Can I Receive Pension After Divorce?
The short answer to this is yes. However, the retirement benefit earnings limit will apply. Therefore, if you are working, you should use the earnings test calculator provided by the Social Security Agency to calculate how your earnings are going to affect the money that you’re allowed to receive from your ex-spouse’s pension.
My Ex Says I’m Stealing Their Money. Do My Benefits Affect Them?
No, they do not. Your ex is entitled to a certain amount of money from their pension. You are also entitled to a certain amount of money from their pension. If you didn’t take that money, it’s not as if it would go to your ex. It wouldn’t go anywhere at all. Any money that you receive from pension after divorce has no impact on the total amount that your ex receives. In fact, if they have remarried, then their current spouse may also receive benefits, and your benefits don’t affect them either.
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