Married or divorced? You can collect an additional $795 per month in Social Security benefits – Community News
Social Security

Married or divorced? You can collect an additional $795 per month in Social Security benefits

Social Security benefits can potentially make or break your retirement, so it’s wise to make sure you make the most of it.

One way to maximize your benefits is to check the types of Social Security you qualify for. If you are married or divorced, you may be entitled to extra money each month. In some cases, you can receive several hundred or even more than $1,000 per month in additional benefits.

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What are Spouse and Divorce Benefits?

Most employees are entitled to a pension as soon as they turn 62. But if you’re married or divorced, you may also be eligible for partner or divorce benefits, even if you’ve never worked.

Of those entitled to spouse or divorce benefits, the average beneficiary collects about $795 per month, according to the Social Security Administration. But how much you receive will depend on your and your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s work history.

The maximum amount you can collect on any of these types of benefits is half the amount your spouse or ex-spouse will receive at their full retirement age (FRA). For example, if your spouse (or former spouse) receives $1,500 per month with their FRA, the maximum you can receive is $750 per month in divorce or divorce payments.

Can you receive pension benefits and partner benefits?

Even if you are already entitled to Social Security based on your own work record, you may still qualify for spouse or divorce benefits. However, your benefit should be less than what you would receive based on your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s work record. You will also receive only the higher of the two amounts – not both amounts.

Suppose you are entitled to $500 per month in benefits based on your own work record. Let’s also say your spouse receives $2,000 a month with their FRA, so you could receive $1,000 a month in partner benefits. In this scenario, you would receive $1,000 per month.

However, suppose you were entitled to $1,200 per month based on your own work. In this case, you would not qualify for partner benefits at all because your benefit amount exceeds the $1,000 per month you could receive based on your spouse’s record.

Are you eligible for a partner’s or divorce benefit?

To be eligible for partner benefits, you must currently be married to someone who is eligible for Social Security benefits.

To receive divorce benefits, you must not be currently married and your previous marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. If you’ve been divorced for less than two years, you’ll have to wait for your ex-spouse to start claiming his or her own benefits before you can apply for divorce benefits.

In either case, you must be at least 62 years old to apply for benefits. However, to receive the maximum amount you are entitled to, you will have to wait to file your FRA – that’s 66, 67, or somewhere in between, depending on the year you were born. Unlike traditional retirement benefits, you will not receive larger checks for deferring benefits beyond your FRA.

Social Security benefits can have a significant impact on your retirement, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re earning every cent you’re entitled to. By taking advantage of spouse or divorce benefits, you can collect more than you might think from Social Security.