I reach full retirement age (66) in September and will take social security benefits. My ex-wife (married 20 years) turns 62 in October. Can she receive half of my benefit at that time? She is employed on a part-time basis and would not meet the income penalty threshold.
Your ex-spouse's potential divorced spousal benefit rate wouldn't amount to a full half of your benefit amount if she applies at age 62. Unreduced divorced spousal benefits are calculated at 50% of the worker's primary insurance amount (PIA) if the divorced spouse claims the benefits at full retirement age (FRA) or later, however, the unreduced amount would be reduced by roughly 30% to 35% if claimed at age 62. The exact percentage reduction would depend on the divorced spouse's year of birth.
Furthermore, your ex-wife couldn't apply for divorced spousal benefits without also being deemed to file for her own Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. As a result, she could only qualify for divorced spousal benefits if 50% of your primary insurance amount (PIA) is higher than her own PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA).
Also, just to be clear, divorced spousal benefits are auxiliary benefits. If your ex-wife qualifies for divorced spousal benefits from your record it will not affect your Social Security benefits. Before filing for your benefits, you may want to strongly consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to fully explore all of your options so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits.