Splitting Social Security benefits in a divorce
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Splitting Social Security benefits in a divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2020 | Divorce |

If you are a Georgia resident going through a divorce, you may want to ask a Georgia-licensed family law attorney about benefits to which you are entitled before reaching a divorce settlement. Typically, assets and benefits earned during marriage are split equitably in a divorce, but there can be exceptions, like Social Security benefits.

How are SS benefits divided?

For starters, SS benefits are different from most marital assets in that they need not be split equitably if a couple was married for less than 10 years. After 10 years, the individual who is entitled to more SS benefits than the other spouse may need to share some of his or her benefits. To determine if a person is eligible to receive some of an ex-spouse’s benefits, compare that person’s own benefits with the portion of the ex-spouse’s benefits to which he or she may be entitled, which will be 50% at most. If the person’s own benefits exceed the portion of the ex-spouse’s, that individual will not be entitled to benefits.

Other eligibility requirements

Another prerequisite for getting benefits is that the person seeking them may not be remarried when asking for or withdrawing benefits. Additionally, benefits cannot be withdrawn before the age of 62, and they cannot be withdrawn until the ex-spouse begins withdrawing his or her own benefits or the two-year marker of the divorce being final occurs.

Calculating benefits

If you meet all of the above conditions, you will be entitled to a portion of your ex’s benefits, but you must still withdraw whatever amount you have from your own benefits before supplementing with an amount from your ex. For example, if your benefits are $400 per month and you are entitled to $500 per month under your ex’s record, you’ll first withdraw $400 from your account and then $100 from your ex’s. However, you should note that you will not be able to receive the entire amount until you reach full retirement age, which is 66 or 67. If you have additional questions about how SS and other benefits are calculated, you may want to consult with a family law attorney.