In New Jersey and across the country, many people do not understand how divorce impacts Social Security benefits. You could potentially be owed additional benefits.

How do I qualify for Social Security benefits in the case of divorce?

First off, it is essential to note that the Social Security Administration is probably not going to notify you if you are entitled to these benefits. For divorcees, it is possible to qualify for Social Security benefits even if you have never worked in a formal job. Of course, there are eligibility requirements. To claim benefits on an ex-spouse’ work record, you must meet these eligibility requirements:

• Your marriage must have lasted 10 years.
• You cannot currently be married.
• The amount of benefits you’re currently receiving must be less than the benefits you’d receive on your ex-spouse’s work record.
• You must be at least 62 years of age.
• You must wait for your ex-spouse to begin claiming benefits before you can receive benefits unless you have been divorced at least two years and your ex-spouse is old enough to claim benefits.

Just like standard benefits, if you are under age for full retirement, you won’t receive the total amount unless you wait until your full retirement age. This is 65-67 depending on when you were born.

How much am I entitled to in divorce benefits?

If you are eligible, you can receive up to 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefit amount that they will receive by waiting until their full retirement age. Millions of retirees depend on their Social Security benefits in retirement. In fact, about 21% of married couples rely on these benefits for at least 90% of their income in retirement, and half of the unmarried retirees do so.

If Social Security benefits make up the majority of your retirement income, then you must maximize the number of benefits that you are qualified for and receive. Divorce is complicated and may require the assistance of a family law attorney to make sure that you’re receiving all of the benefits to which you are entitled.