Ask Larry

How Can I Maximize My Benefits after Divorce?

Hi, I divorced after a 34 years of marriage and will be 64 in September. My ex filed for SS at age 62 (two years ago). I am still working but would like to retire as soon as possible. I am receiving 1/2 of his pension ($1000), and want to know when is the best time to file for my SS and can I file for his SS benefit and not affect my own. Thanks, Barbara

Hi Barbara, from what you write it sounds like you already filed for and are receiving your divorced spousal benefit. Since you're not yet at your full retirement age (FRA), that means you were also deemed to have filed for your retirement benefit and both were permanently reduced due to filing early. You'll receive the larger of the two so if you're receiving your spousal benefit, then it's larger than your retirement benefit. You can suspend your retirement benefit at your FRA in order to earn delayed retirement credits up to age 70, but you won't be able to receive any benefits while your retirement benefit is suspended. If it hasn't yet been 12 months since you filed, you can withdraw your application but you'd also have to repay all benefits received. You could then file for your unreduced spousal benefit at your FRA. If your retirement benefit at 70 would be increase to a level greater than your divorced spousal benefit due to delaying it, you could then switch to your then larger retirement benefit. Our software can determine how to maximize your lifetime benefits. Thanks, John

Jun 29 2016 - 5:00pm
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