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Divorce can grant an ex-spouse Social Security benefits

When a divorced individual nears retirement age, his or her thoughts often turn toward retirement funding. In some cases, these needs were addressed during the Connecticut divorce process, and adequate retirement savings were gained in the final settlement. In some cases, however, divorced spouses near retirement age without sufficient funding. This can leave some wondering if they are able to collect on an ex-spouse's Social Security benefits.

If the spouse who wishes to collect is unmarried and meets other criteria, it is possible to collect on the Social Security account of an ex-spouse. If there are two or more exes, it is even possible to target the higher-earning ex and collect on his or her benefits. However, it is not possible to claim benefits from two ex-spouses at the same time.

In instances in which the former spouse has not yet begun to claim his or her own Social Security, it is still possible to receive benefits. The divorce must have taken place at least two years prior, and the collecting spouse must be at least 62 years old or older. It is also possible to collect survivor's benefits when a former spouse is deceased.

It is important that all Connecticut spouses address retirement issues during the divorce process, which can help ensure that each party has sufficient retirement income when it is needed. However, there are many cases in which this need was not handled during a divorce, leaving spouses to focus on their ability to collect on the Social Security benefits of a former partner. It is hoped that the information provided here helps readers determine if this is an option for them.

Source: Fox Business, "Divorce Doesn't have to Separate You from Benefits," Don Taylor, March 13, 2013

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