Part II of Social Security benefits for divorced spouses: A primer

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2021 | Divorce

As regular readers of our Bethesda Family Law Blog will recall, we recently published a post about Social Security benefits that divorced spouses can receive based on their former spouse’s earnings history.

Certain conditions set out by the Social Security Administration must be met, but once that’s accomplished, divorced spouse benefits can begin to flow. Please check our previous post to scan through those requirements.

No effect on benefits

A reminder: if a former spouse files for Social Security benefits based on your earnings history, it won’t reduce or affect the benefits you’re able to receive. Your benefits won’t be affected at all.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the documents you’ll need if you intend to apply for Social Security divorced spouse benefits.

Note: you can file your claim online or in person at a Social Security office. (There are Social Security offices in Silver Spring, Rockville and, of course, in Washington D.C.)

If you’re ready to file, have this info handy

The documents and information you’ll need when you file for divorced spouse benefits include the following:

  • Your name, gender and Social Security number
  • Your birth name, and the date and place of birth
  • Your current marital status
  • Citizenship status
  • Names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for former spouses
  • Dates and places for each marriage and when you were divorced
  • Birth certificate or an acceptable equivalent
  • Any alternate Social Security numbers you have used
  • Your work status and whether you’ve been prevented from working by injury, illness or other condition during the past 14 months
  • Military service status
  • Railroad industry employment status
  • Whether you have earned Social Security credits in another country’s system
  • Whether you qualify or expect to get a federal employee pension or annuity
  • Names of unmarried children under 18 years old
  • Employer’s name and your earnings for this year and the previous two years
  • The month you want benefits to start

A bit more information needed

If you’re three months before turning 65, the Social Security office will also want to know if you want to enroll in Medicare Part B.

In order to qualify for divorced spouse Social Security benefits, you might also be asked to provide documents that clarify eligibility, such as military discharge papers, tax forms, proof of citizenship, a copy of your marriage certificate or divorce decree.

While no one gets rich from Social Security benefits, they can provide a stable source of income crucial in sound financial planning.