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How Your Long Island Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security

by | Jul 31, 2018 | divorce, divorce lawyer long island ny, estate planning, News and Events

For many Long Islanders, retirement benefits weigh heavily on their mind when going through a divorce. Long Island is an expensive place to live when you are in a two-income household, and the thought of attempting to afford it on your own after retirement can be daunting. In order to prepare yourself for post-divorce life, it’s important to understand the impact your Long Island Divorce will have on certain retirement benefits.

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You Must Be Married 10 Years to Collect Spouse’s Social Security

In order to receive an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. Social Security operates under the assumption that, while currently divorced, you and your spouse were engaged in a lengthy economic partnership during your marriage. This relationship entitles you to a personal benefit for allowing your spouse to earn the income he or she did while you were married.

How Remarriage Can Affect Your Social Security Benefits

Remarriage plays an important role as it relates to Social Security benefits. If you remarry, you are no longer entitled to your first spouse’s benefits. However, when your second spouse dies, you may still be entitled to your ex-spouse’s benefits.

On the other hand, your ex-spouse’s remarriage does not affect whether you receive his or her Social Security benefits. So, if your ex-spouse remarries, you are still entitled to receive benefits from his or her earning history. It’s important to note that if there are multiple ex-spouses, for instance if your ex-spouse was previously married and that marriage ended in divorce, there isn’t just one benefit available. If the first ex-spouse applies before you, it will not change your Social Security benefit.

Eligibility Concerning Life of Spouse

There are two diverging eligibility standards that revolve around whether your ex-spouse is currently alive, or, if he or she predeceased you.

If your ex-spouse is currently living, you can receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earning history if:

  • the marriage lasted at least 10 years;
  • you are currently unmarried; and
  • you are 65 or older.

Finally, your ex-spouse must also be entitled to receive Social Security benefits. It’s not required that he or she begin collecting the benefits, as long as he or she is eligible, you may collect.

If your ex-spouse predeceases you, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be at least 60 if not disabled, or, 50 if disabled and
  • have been married for at least 10 years.

Additionally, if you remarry before age 60 (or 50 if you are disabled), you are ineligible to receive the benefits. However, if you wait until after you turn 60 (or 50 if disabled) to remarry, you can collect your ex-spouse’s benefits.

Your Own Benefits Must Be Lower Than Spouse to Collect Their SS

In order to collect your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits, the benefit that you are entitled to receive based on your own earning history must be lower than the benefit you would receive from your ex-spouse. This basically translates to you collecting whichever benefit is higher, but remember, you cannot collect both.

Have Questions About How Your Long Island Divorce Can Affect Your Social Security? We Can Help

If you have further questions regarding Social Security benefits after your divorce, we can help. Your Long Island Divorce can have far reaching implications for your post-divorce life. It’s important to have an experienced attorney by your side to protect your rights and future assets. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation with one of our experienced Family Law attorneys.


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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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