Recently, I have had several people ask me how retirement benefits for a divorced couple are determined. First off let me say that Social Security Administration is generous to married, survivors and divorced.
If you were married for at least 10 years and then got divorced then you may be able to claim benefits based on the ex spouse. We have to assume you did not go back out and get married again or at least you did not before age 60 + one day.
What might this look like? Bob and Mary are the same age and get divorced and Mary has not remarried and is 62. Mary could claim "spousal" benefits at 62 and it would be "deemed" as her election for all years. Or she could wait until FRA or Full Retirement Age and let's call that for her age 66. She could claim on his benefit under spousal (even if he remarried multiple times) and then received "credits of 8% per year on her own benefits until age 70 and then turns that on for potentially much higher benefit. It would not be an under statement that many divorced people have not considered this option and their advisors are not even aware of it. What would you do with found money of extra $500 a month for life? Would it make a difference in your planning? How much money would you need to invest in order to cash flow you an extra $500 a month? Tens of thousands is the answer. Most professionals are relying on SSA agents to explain their options and have little knowledge about claiming benefits. I know that when I got introduced to these ideas a couple of years ago it was very strange and complex. I was afraid that I would make mistakes in the advice. So I then sought out other experts in the field and learned it and gladly share these found money concepts.
If you are advising those getting ready to retiree would it not be good stewardship to get wise council on these very important issues. If you would like to run some "what if" numbers on a very well done calculator then check out this link. If you are a do it yourself person or just curious simply click "no thanks" when asked if you would like help. What is at stake in not doing prudent planning? Social Security Timing is not a governmental site. If you are a nonprofit donor relations person realize this that more guaranteed cash flow may help your donors capacity and who brought the idea to them. Consider working with experts in this claiming area and know this that found money often seeks to be generous to others.