Figuring out SSA benefit amounts after divorce

As Illinois residents near retirement, they might be concerned with how to pay bills during this period of their lives. For divorced residents, this might be an even more pressing concern. Figuring out what their social security benefit amount will be is important in budgeting for retirement. Some residents might also be entitled to additional benefits based on their ex-spouse's work record.

There are rules for how people can claim social security benefits based on their ex's work record after the end of a marriage. To be eligible, the couple must have been married for 10 or more years, the person receiving the benefits must be unmarried and at least 62 years of age, and the benefits from their own record must be less than what they would receive based on their ex's work record. Usually, they need to wait until their ex has begun receiving benefits to be able to claim, unless they have been divorced for two full years and their ex can receive benefits but has not begun claiming them.

To receive full benefits, a person claiming must be at their full retirement age, which is currently between 66 and 67 years-old depending on the year of birth. If they claim based on their ex's work record, they can receive 50 percent of the amount their ex will receive if their ex is at full retirement age. Additionally, a person might be able to receive benefits from their ex-spouse's work record even if they are receiving based on their own work record. They will not receive the full amount of that additional benefit.

Figuring out social security benefits might be part of the process of budgeting for life after divorce. A lawyer with family law experience might be able to help their client with this information and provide the information and assistance they need through their legal process.

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