Are Divorced Spousal Benefits Reduced If They're Caring For A Child?

Jan 19 2017 - 7:30am

Thank you all very much for helping so many of us navigate SSA waters!

Are divorced spouse child-in-care benefit amounts lower if taken at 62, than if taken at FRA?
Does worker (as in, not the div. spouse providing care) have to attain FRA before divorced spouse can receive child-in-care benefit? (I think the answer is no but I want to be sure.)
What influences child-in-care benefit amounts? (for instance, COLA, etc)

Hi,

No, if an entitled child of the worker is in the divorced spouse's care in the first month of their entitlement, their divorced spousal benefits would not be reduced for age(https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300202020#a6).

The worker must be entitled to retirement or disability benefits in order for the divorced spouse to qualify for benefits, but does not have to be full retirement age.

Child-in-care benefits are derived from the worker's full retirement age benefit rate (PIA). The rate payable is 50% of the worker's PIA if the worker is living, or 75% of a deceased worker's PIA. However, the actual amount payable may be lower if the family maximum is involved (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.07/handbook-0730.html). And, cost of living increases apply to child in care benefits in the same manner as any other type of Social Security benefit.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to explore all of your filing options.

Best, Jerry