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Navigating Social Security benefits after a divorce in Wisconsin

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Divorce |

Retirement funds and some crucial government benefits are often the top concern when going through a divorce in your later years in Wisconsin. If your spouse was eligible to collect Social Security, you might wonder if you can get part of that as a divorced spouse – and if so, how much.

Qualifying for ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits

It’s important to know that divorce doesn’t end Social Security eligibility for either spouse. To qualify, you must meet certain criteria:

  • You must have officially stayed together for at least ten years
  • Your ex-spouse must be eligible to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits
  • You are age 62 or older
  • The benefit you would receive based on your work record is less than the benefit you would receive based on your former spouse’s work record

Collecting Social Security benefits as a divorced spouse in Wisconsin

If you meet all of these requirements, all you need is proof of the marriage and your ex-spouse’s Social Security number. Then, you can apply for benefits online or in person at your local Social Security office.

When it comes to the amount of benefit you receive, that depends on several factors, such as when you divorced, how long you were married, and whether or not the higher earner is still alive or receiving their own retirement benefits. A divorced spouse is eligible to receive up to one-half of their former spouse’s full retirement benefit if they wait until full retirement age (varies by birth year but ranges from 65 to 67). Of course, if they retire early, the amount will be lower.

It would be best to keep in mind that your earnings record may still impact the amount of benefit you qualify for as a divorced spouse. If you have worked and earned enough credits in your own right, then the Social Security Administration will consider both your benefits and your former spouse’s when calculating an amount.

It’s important to understand your rights as an ex-spouse and the laws surrounding government benefits to collect the correct amount of Social Security benefits. This will help provide a foundation of income security for your retirement years.