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How Does Social Security Work in a Connecticut Divorce?

Photo of Meghan Freed, Connecticut Divorce AttorneyRetirement accounts are subject to division in Connecticut divorces — but how do Social Security benefits work?

Social Security benefits are not considered a marital asset and are therefore not subject to division in a Connecticut divorce.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Under certain circumstances, a former spouse has the right to claim their ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.  This means that the former spouse who would be entitled to a lower social security payment on their own can get the benefit of their ex-spouse’s higher social security entitlement.  And, a former spouse claiming Social Security benefits under the ex-spouse’s record has no effect on the benefits the ex-spouse is eligible to receive.

It’s a win/win.

When Does an Ex-Spouse Have a Right to Claim the Former Spouse’s Social Security Benefit?

You can claim Social Security benefits under an ex-spouse’s record if you are:

  • Age 62 or older
  • Unmarried
  • Divorced from someone entitled to receive Social Security benefits
  • Had a marriage that was least 10 years long

Does it Matter Whether My Ex-Spouse Has Retired?

It doesn’t.  If you have been divorced at least two years before applying for Social Security benefits, you are eligible to apply on your ex-spouse’s record even if he or she has not retired.  Again, this has no effect on the benefits your ex-spouse is eligible to receive.

What About My Own Social Security Benefit?

If you are entitled to your own Social Security benefits, and your benefit amount would be less than you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s record, you will be paid the higher of the two benefits (but not both).

Next Steps

If you want to learn more about how Social Security works in Connecticut divorces — for example with respect to alimony and child support — check out this article.  If you have questions or want to learn more about how Social Security might work in your specific situation, please contact us either here or by phone at 860-560-8160.

 

Written by Meghan Freed