Going through a divorce can be an incredibly stressful and trying time in life. It can seem like your world has been turned upside down and that there is a seemingly endless list of considerations to make as you venture into the uncharted waters of starting over. While many things need to be sorted out before finalizing a divorce, one of the primary concerns individuals have is maintaining financial solvency.
While splitting up the family bank accounts can seem relatively straightforward, you cannot forget that there will also be things like retirement accounts and social security benefits that need to be addressed. Today, the Maggi Tax team is here to help you understand how divorce will affect your Social Security Benefits so that you can better navigate your situation. Let’s take a look.
There are some general rules that are helpful to know when it comes to your former husband or wife. For instance, if your ex-spouse has passed away and you were married for at least 10 years, you are eligible to collect 100% of their Social Security benefit if they never remarried. If they are still living, but unmarried, you can collect 50% of their benefit without any penalty to them.
There are also filings known as restricted benefits that in certain circumstances may allow you to collect your 50% benefit from your former spouse starting at age 62 while allowing your benefit to fully mature and not be taken until age 70. Our Maggi Tax pros can help you to know if this circumstance applies to your situation.
The Social Security benefits that you and your former spouse are entitled to are based on your earnings history, but Medicare benefits are applied uniformly. If you have a work record that demonstrates you worked at least 40 quarters where you paid into Social Security, you will be eligible to receive Medicare Part A hospitalization benefits. However, you may be wondering what happens if you did not work this much, but your ex did.
Once again, the decade detail matters. If you were married for at least 10 years, and your former spouse has met the 40-quarter stipulation, you will be able to receive Medicare Part A based on their work record. If neither of you has met the work history requirements, you will have to pay out of pocket for this benefit.
It is important to note that you may be able to ask to stay on your ex’s healthcare until you are 65 and eligible for Medicare as part of your divorce settlement.
Timing is everything when it comes to Social Security and Medicare benefit entitlements as part of a divorce. If you were married for less than 10 years, you will be able to lay no claim to any of these benefits from your former spouse. If you were counting on these benefits from your former spouse to help keep you financially stable, it is important that you work with an excellent financial planner and tax professional to develop a game plan for the long run.
We hope that this overview has been helpful in understanding the world of Social Security entitlements post-divorce. To learn more about this and many other financial and tax topics, stay tuned to our blog or give our top-notch tax team at Maggi Tax a call today!