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How divorce can affect Social Security benefits

According to the Social Security Administration, 96% of workers in the United States are covered under Social Security. In addition, the spouses of these workers may also be eligible for benefits. This is true even after a divorce. In fact, a former spouse in Washington can potentially earn up to half of the benefits of an ex-spouse who qualifies for Social Security.

However, ex-spouses are only eligible for Social Security if they meet certain criteria. These conditions include having been married for at least 10 years, remaining unmarried and being at least 62 or older. Additionally, the ex-spouse must be entitled to Social Security payments. Finally, a person can be eligible for his or her own benefits as long as those benefits are less than that the ex-spouse.

It is also important to note that if a person decides to remarry, there may be changes to his or her benefits. In most cases, a remarried spouse will give up his or her rights to the ex-spouses benefits. If the person is at least 62 years of age, he or she may be able to collect Social Security from the new spouse's benefits.

Getting a divorce at an older age can be confusing and frustrating, especially if the former couple is living on a fixed income and relying on Social Security benefits. A family law attorney may be able to walk a former spouse through the process of seeking benefits from an ex-spouse's Social Security contributions. In addition, legal counsel could help develop a strategy to divide up any marital property that the former couple obtained through the course of the marriage.

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