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Social Security Spousal Benefits

Social Security Spousal Benefits image

If you’re considering retirement, you might be wondering how to maximize your Social Security benefits, especially if you or your spouse has a limited work history. Social Security spousal benefits is a federal program that provides financial support to the spouses of workers who qualify for Social Security. Here, we’ll break down what Social Security spousal benefits are, how they work, and how you can apply. We’ll also tackle whether you can receive these benefits if you are divorced and how consulting with a local lawyer can significantly enhance your chances of getting the benefits you deserve.

How Do Social Security Spousal Benefits Work?

Social Security spousal benefits allow you, as the spouse of a worker eligible for Social Security benefits, to receive up to 50% of your spouse’s full retirement benefit. You can do this at your full retirement age, which will vary depending on your birth year. It’s important to note that these benefits don’t reduce the amount your spouse receives; they are an additional amount you can claim based on their earnings record.

To qualify, you need to be at least 62 years old, although it’s important to remember that claiming benefits before reaching your full retirement age will reduce the amount you can receive. If your spouse has yet to begin receiving their Social Security benefits, you will need to wait until they do before you can apply for spousal benefits. Moreover, if you are eligible for your own Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will pay that amount first. If the spousal benefit you are eligible for is higher, you’ll receive an additional payment to make up the difference.

The Application Process

Applying for Social Security spousal benefits is relatively straightforward. You can apply online, by phone, or at your local Social Security office. You’ll need to provide your marriage certificate, divorce decree (if applicable), Social Security numbers for you and your spouse, and certain other documents to verify your identities and marital status.

Can I Get Spousal Support After Divorce?

Yes, you can still qualify for spousal benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record if

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years
  • You are currently unmarried
  • You are at least 62 years old.

The amount you are eligible for does not change because of the divorce, nor does it affect the amount your ex-spouse and their current spouse may receive. It’s a common misconception that divorce severs all ties regarding Social Security. That’s not the case with spousal benefits.

The Value of Legal Assistance

The process, while straightforward in print, can quickly become complicated depending on your specific circumstances, such as if you

  • Have a non-traditional situation
  • Have been divorced multiple times
  • Are unsure about the timing of your claim.

A local attorney who is familiar with the details of Social Security law can be invaluable here. They can provide advice tailored to your situation, helping you understand when and how to apply to maximize the benefits you receive. Attorneys can also assist with navigating the complexities of the Social Security system, ensuring that your application is complete and accurate, and advocating on your behalf in case of disputes or denials.

Why Timing Matters

Social Security Spousal Benefits image 2Deciding when to apply for Social Security spousal benefits is critical. Although you can start receiving benefits from age 62, doing so may result in permanently reduced benefits. If financial circumstances allow, waiting until your full retirement age (or even longer, up to age 70) can significantly increase your monthly benefits. An experienced lawyer can help you weigh your options and determine the best time to apply based on your individual financial needs and goals.

Long-Term Planning

Understanding and applying for Social Security Spousal Benefits is more than just filling out paperwork. It’s about making strategic decisions that will impact your financial security for years to come. With thoughtful planning and professional advice from Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., you can ensure you are making the most of your and your spouse’s Social Security benefits.

In conclusion, Social Security Spousal Benefits can provide significant financial support during retirement, whether you are married, divorced, or widowed. Knowing how and when to apply, and how to maximize your benefits can make all the difference in your comfort and stability in later years. Reach out to the team at Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., who can guide you through the process and help ensure that you get the benefits you are entitled to.

Contact us online or call Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq. at (732) 898-2378 today so we can schedule an appointment to discuss your needs.