Baby Boomers, Divorce, and Social Security Benefits in PA

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Family Law on Thursday, December 29, 2016.

Baby boomers are ending their marriages after decades together at an ever-increasing rate. The number of people here in Pennsylvania and elsewhere who are over the age of 50 and getting a divorce has at least doubled in recent decades. This often means that information on issues such as Social Security benefits is needed more than information on custody arrangements.

Being at or near retirement age, Pennsylvania residents going through what has been dubbed a "gray divorce" tend to focus more on how their retirement accounts will recover. Many of them might not realize that they could be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on their former spouse's work history, which amount could be higher than the amount based on their own work records. To meet the minimum qualifications to receive benefits from a former spouse's work history, an individual must meet certain criteria.

First, he or she has to be at least 62 years of age. Second, the marriage must have lasted a minimum of 10 years. Third, the former spouse must qualify for benefits. Finally, the amount received from an ex-spouse's work record must be more than the individual would receive from his or her work history. Any benefits paid based upon a former spouse's work history do not reduce his or her benefits.

When starting over later in life after a divorce, receiving as much income as possible right away is essential. Ever dollar counts toward being able to be independent and to live comfortably. If the minimum criteria to receive Social Security benefits based on a soon-to-be ex-spouse's work record have been met, discuss the matter with an attorney to gain a full and complete understanding of how to obtain these benefits and when it would be most advantageous to do so.

Source:, "Your 2017 Guide to Social Security and Divorce", Todd Campbell, Dec. 15, 2016


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