Am I Missing Something?

Apr 20 2020 - 8:07am

In my divorce settlement it was calculated by the judge that I will receive $2,000 from SS per month at age 62 (I am forced to take it at 62 as required by the decree). My former husband has paid the maximum over the last 10+ years. I will be 62 in 2028. And I am assured that this SS at 62 for 2,000 combined with another 1,000 by my ex, that I will receive, at minimum, 3,000 per month. Since this is all that I can expect to live on, this is quite important to me. I was completely dependent on him as I stayed home to raise our kids. My question is that this simply doesn't sound right that I am going to receive 2,000 a year at 62. Am I missing something?

Hi,

All I can tell you is that the judge handling your divorce case cannot set the amount that you'll be eligible for from Social Security. Social Security is a federal program, and the benefit rates payable are determined by the earnings history of the worker on whose record the benefits are paid.

The most that a divorced spouse can be paid from the record of a living ex-spouse is 50% of the ex-spouse's primary insurance amount (PIA). And, they'd only get the full 50% if they wait until full retirement age (FRA) to start drawing. If they instead start drawing at age 62 their divorced spousal amount would be reduced by up to 35%.

The current maximum PIA for people reaching FRA in 2020 is $3011. Therefore, the current maximum possible divorced spousal rate at FRA would be $1505, which would be reduced to $978 for a divorced spouse whose FRA is 67 and they file at age 62.

Furthermore, you can't be paid both your own Social Security retirement benefits and a full divorced spousal benefit. If you qualify for both benefits you could only be paid essentially the higher of the two benefit rates, and your rate would be reduced if you file prior to FRA.

Best, Jerry