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Social Security benefits for divorced spouses

Divorced Colorado residents may benefit from learning more about different strategies regarding Social Security spousal benefits. The amount attained by the beneficiaries is reliant on the earnings test, an assessment of the employment status and level of income. The Social Security Administration has the authority to withhold $1 of benefits for every $2 earned in excess of the lower threshold, and $1 for every $3 for the higher threshold.

The full retirement age, also known as the normal retirement age, begins at age 66. Individuals who are working and younger than the FRA, but are qualified to receive Social Security, may have their benefits withheld based on their income. Once that individual reaches the FRA, the amount of the Social Security benefits increases. A divorced person who was married for at least 10 years may be eligible to claim benefits based upon the former spouse's earnings record.

Generally speaking, the amount of benefits increase by 8 percent each year until age 70. The exempt amount is lower in the years leading up the FRA, whereas the exemption is higher in the years after the FRA attainment. For 2015, the difference between the two annual exempt amounts was more than $26,000 during 2015.

A person who is contemplating a divorce and who has questions about Social Security claims may benefit from consulting a lawyer who has experience in family law matters. Legal counsel may be prepared to review the circumstances of the case and help determine whether the projected spousal retirement benefit should be taken into account when negotiating a property division settlement agreement.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020