All mid-life divorces require some time and attention to details regarding social security benefits available to former spouses. I routinely advise my older clients that a spouse may collect social security benefits based upon a former spouse's earnings record provided that certain requirements are met. The most basic of those requirements is that the marriage was of at least ten years duration. Interestingly, when a former spouse does obtain benefits based upon a spouse's higher earnings record, that doesn't affect the former spouse's SS benefit by a penny.
But how many people don't protect themselves and lose a lot of benefits they could have had if they'd only learned more about their potential?
Do see the New York Times article articulating the importance of learning about social security rights. Lieber, Ron. "The Social Security Maze and Other U.S. Mysteries." The New York Times, March 13, 2015. Accessed March 13, 2015. http://nyti.ms/18HyuiJ.
The article is very useful. It discusses and recommends a newly published book, Get What's Yours The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security published by Simon & Shuster, February 2015. Preview the book here
If you are a party to a divorce and you need to learn more about your options regarding Social Security, this is a valuable resource for you. As a practicing family lawyer, you may wish to preview this book and put it on a list of resources for your mid-life divorce clients.
A free resource is published by the Social Security Administration: Social Security Benefits: What Every Woman Should Know. Download Social Security, What Every Woman Should Know [Last Accessed June 7, 2015] If you are reading this blog post years later, you may wish to go to the SSA Website and check for updates.