Social Security Benefits are a great help to enjoy life after retirement, though it’s not enough. Every year, the prices of our basic needs increase while we still continue to pay our bills.
According to the Social Security Administration, the average amount retirees receive is around $1,500 monthly or $18,000 annually. If one has no other savings or investment, it gets challenging to pay all the bills and live a comfortable life.
The good thing is people are eligible for more benefits through spousal or divorce benefits. Here’s how:
If you are married and your spouse is qualified for the Social Security benefit, you may be eligible for spousal benefits. But it is still based on your spouse’s work record, according to the Motley Fool.
The maximum benefit you can receive in spousal benefits is half the amount your spouse will collect at his/her full retirement age. If your spouse can receive $2, 000 monthly, the most you can receive in spousal benefits is $1, 000 per month.
But, if you are collecting more than the amount your spouse is collecting in benefits based on your own work record, unfortunately, you are not eligible for spousal benefits.
Yet again, if your benefit amount is lower than what you can collect in spousal benefit, you’ll be receiving the higher amount between the two. For example, if you are collecting $800 based on your own work record, and you are qualified for the $1, 000 monthly spousal benefit, then you’ll receive only $1, 000 monthly, not $1, 800.
Divorce benefits and spousal benefits are somewhat similar but one important key in divorce benefits is, you should not be married currently.
You are eligible for the divorce benefits if your previous marriage lasted for at least 10 years. Even if your ex-spouse is married already, your eligibility to receive divorce benefits won’t be affected. Also, claiming divorce benefits will not affect your ex-spouse’s present partner from claiming the spousal benefits.
In spousal benefits, you can collect a maximum of 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefit at his/her FRA. If you have been divorced for just less than two years, you will have to wait for your ex-spouse to file for Social Security before you can start collecting your divorce benefits.
As early as now, you can start thinking about how spousal or divorce benefits can help you. Understand if you are eligible for any of the two benefits and decide when you want to claim. You can claim the full benefit amount that you are qualified to until your FRA.
Social Security benefits are a big help for a comfortable life after retirement especially if you know how to take advantage of spousal or divorce benefits.