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Your Social Security benefits after a divorce

Considering your Social Security benefits now can help you weather future uncertainty. Just don’t wait for a divorce before thinking about how you’ll fund your retirement or future. You may qualify for a benefits boost in Arizona if you earned less than an ex-spouse did during the marriage.

Spousal benefits

Spousal benefits are Social Security payments that go to you even after divorce. These benefits readjust your prior benefits to account for the quality of life you had during the marriage but lost in a divorce.

All couples possess what public courts call community property. Choosing to be with someone who earns more, in such cases, increases your quality of life, and you may contribute to the marriage and household in other important ways.

What you qualify for regarding spousal benefits does not come from your ex-spouse’s money after the divorce. Instead, you receive new benefits that are equated based on financial inequality to help you sustain a comparable quality of life in retirement.

What do you qualify for

Before receiving spousal benefits, it’s imperative that you’re officially divorced. There is then a two-year waiting period before you can apply. Moreover, you need to have been married 10 years to your spouse before you qualify for spousal benefits. Here’s an overview of how it works:

• A Social Security representative specifically declares your benefit amount.
• In general, you qualify for what’s equal to 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefits.
• If you’ll already earn benefits equal to 50% of your spouse’s based on your own income, you don’t qualify.
• By remarrying, you revoke your right to apply for spousal benefits.
• Filing for spousal benefits doesn’t require your ex-spouse’s agreement; they’re not even informed.

With your certificates of marriage and of divorce, you can legally apply for spousal benefits. You only need your spouse’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number to claim your benefits in Arizona.