How Divorce Impacts Social Security Disability Benefits

how divorce impacts Social Security Disability benefits

Social Security is incredibly convoluted, and once a disabled person and meets the qualifications for Social Security Disability, certain changes to his or her personal circumstances can create complications.

How divorce will affect their Social Security Disability payments is a common issue many beneficiaries worry about. There are certain factors that influence how getting divorced impacts Social Security Disability payments – the Social Security Administration (SSA) says its all about the types of benefits you receive. However, the good news is if you are the one in the relationship who is the SSD beneficiary, then your benefits will continue. Things become complicated when retirement is a factor. In addition, your ex-spouse could be eligible to collect Social Security benefits based on your record, depending on circumstances.

Basic Stipulations

According to the Social Security Administration, for either you or your ex-spouse to qualify on the other person’s Social Security Disability record, you must have been married for at least 10 years to each other. The person seeking to qualify for benefits off of his or her ex-spouses record must also be at least 62 years of age and either unmarried or ineligible for a higher benefit on his or her individual Social Security record.

When One Of You Reaches Retirement Age

Social Security Disability beneficiaries’ payments are automatically switched to Social Security retirement benefits when they reach retirement age, and there are ways to receive more money between the time you reach 62 years old and your actual retirement age. However, if you collect Social Security Disability benefits and your ex-spouse does or will soon receive Social Security retirement payments, there are certain instances where you can collect additional benefits.

According to Kia Green Anderson, an employee in the Social Security Administration press office, a disabled person can collect on his or her ex-spouse’s retirement once the disabled individual turns 62.

In fact, in Social Security Administration expert Larry Kotlikoff’s column for PBS, he wrote that the Social Security Administration automatically considers ex-spouses as having filed for their own retirement when they reach 62, even if they haven’t already filed. According to Kotlikoff, the only way people can triple-dip in Social Security is through getting divorced.

There are many scenarios that can impact whether you or your ex-spouse can receive additional benefits. If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits and may soon get divorced or have an ex-spouse who is going to receive Social Security retirement benefits in the near future, speak to your attorney about the possibility of additional benefits.

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