The Basics on the Effect of Divorce on Social Security Benefits

The Effect of a Florida Divorce on Social Security Benefits

The Basics on the Effect of Divorce on Social Security Benefits

If you have been married for a significant length of time to someone from whom you are now divorced, there is a chance that you are still eligible for survivor’s Social Security benefits upon your ex-spouse’s death. Divorce laws in the state of Florida can be complicated, and Social Security eligibility can also be difficult to understand. The following information will help people in this unique situation understand the ins and outs of this complicated topic.

Qualifying for benefits

As with any benefits that are granted by the Social Security Administration (SSA), anyone seeking survivor benefits from an ex-spouse must meet all of the eligibility requirements. The requirements vary depending on the type of benefits the ex-spouse is seeking. Further, the amount that is awarded to the seeker is dependent on several different variables such as work status, health, age, and whether or not you are caring for your ex-spouse’s minor children.

Paid benefits

Any benefits paid to the surviving ex-spouse of a deceased individual will not affect the number of benefits paid to other survivors who are also collecting benefits.

Disability benefits

To be eligible for an ex-spouse’s disability benefits, several factors must be met. First, the duration of the marriage must have been at least ten years. The applicant must be at least 62 years of age. Anyone filing for disability benefits must also be unmarried at the time the application is submitted. Anyone who is eligible for disability benefits that exceed the worth of the deceased ex-spouse may not receive these survivor’s benefits.

Social Security retirement benefits

An ex-spouse of a deceased individual is eligible to receive up to one-half of the deceased’s Social Security retirement benefits. However, there are age requirements as well as other factors that must be met. As with disability benefits, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, and the applicant must be at least 62 years old. The deceased’s retirement benefits cannot be awarded to the ex-spouse if he or she is eligible for benefits that are equal to or higher than those of the deceased individual. However, if the surviving ex-spouse is receiving retirement benefits that are less than the deceased’s, a combination of the two amounts will be rewarded.

Survivor’s benefits

If a former spouse dies but has met the qualifications for survivor’s benefits, the widow or widower is entitled to the full amount of the benefits. However, to be eligible for them, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, and the applicant must have reached full retirement age before the date of application, which is currently 65. However, the age requirement does not need to be met if the remaining ex-spouse is caring for the minor children of the deceased ex-spouse or if the survivor is disabled.

Caring for minor or disabled children

An ex-spouse who is caring for the minor or disabled children of a deceased ex-spouse is not required to meet the length-of-marriage rule for receiving survivor’s benefits. However, the child/children in question must be the ex-spouse’s natural or legally adopted children.

Reductions in benefits

The SSA has the right to reduce the benefit amount for a surviving ex-spouse under certain circumstances. For example, if the surviving ex-spouse begins to collect benefits before full retirement age is reached, and he or she has no disability, the payment amount might be permanently reduced. The SSA also imposes strict income limits for those people who are still working but also collecting benefits. Benefits will be reduced when a certain income amount is reached.


Anyone receiving survivor’s benefits who get remarried after the age of 60 will not receive a reduction in Social Security survivor’s benefits.

Collecting Social Security survivor’s benefits

– An ex-spouse who is remarried cannot receive survivor’s benefits from the first spouse until there is a record that the second marriage has ended.
– If an ex-spouse is eligible for Social Security benefits but had not applied for them, the surviving ex-spouse can apply for them if the divorce has been in effect at least two years.
– Social Security survivor benefits do not include any credits for which the deceased had been eligible.
– If the surviving ex-spouse is of full retirement age, he or she can either receive just the deceased ex-spouse’s benefits and delay their own until a later time.

If you or someone you know in Florida are possibly eligible for Social Security survivor’s benefits after an ex-spouse passes, the best course of action is to contact a qualified and reputable attorney who can help you wade through all of the pertinent information. Social Security benefits issues are often complicated, and an attorney can help make sure you obtain the benefits that you deserve.