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Can I still get Social Security benefits after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2021 | Family Law |

Ending a marriage is stressful, especially if one is close to retirement and worried about money. Some people may not even be sure whether they will still qualify for Social Security benefits after divorce. The good news is that many people can still count on these benefits during retirement. The bad news is that there are a lot of myths out there that might dissuade some Missouri residents from drawing the benefits to which they are entitled.

Qualifying for Social Security benefits

Just like some people rely on retirement savings from their spouses’ jobs, many people rely on Social Security benefits based on their spouses’ work records rather than their own. Getting a divorce does not necessarily mean that someone can no longer draw those benefits. He or she may still qualify if:

  • The marriage lasted for at least 10 years
  • The divorce has been finalized for at least two years
  • He or she has not remarried

Dispelling myths

A 2020 survey found that more than half of adults believe drawing benefits on an ex’s work record reduces how much he or she can get. This is not true, as getting the benefits one needs to survive during retirement will have no effect whatsoever on the other person’s benefits. Others mistakenly believe that divorce decrees can prohibit someone from going after benefits, or that it is necessary to get an ex’s permission first.

Financial security is important before, during and after divorce. For those who are approaching retirement, Social Security benefits are just one factor to consider. People in Missouri may also want to consider how asset division, spousal support and other decisions made during divorce might affect their financial future.