Thea Glazer, CFP, CDFA, one of the foremost Certified Financial Divorce Analysts (CFDA) in San Diego, offers these excellent tips for collecting and managing your Social Security benefits:
- If you were married for at least 10 years and are not remarried, you can receive a maximum of 50% of what your former spouse would receive at their Full Retirement Age (FRA), usually 66 or 67.
- If ex-spouse is younger than you are, you can collect your own benefit first and then switch to collecting on their record, if it makes financial sense.
- An excellent strategy is to apply for benefits on your ex-spouse’s record and let your own benefits accrue until age 70, the latest they can be deferred. Accrual after your FRA is at 8% per year, not a shabby return in this low interest rate environment. Below are some of the finer points:
-Your former spouse does not to have filed for his/her own benefits, but must be eligible to do so (must be at least age 62).
-Ex-spouse’s benefits will not be reduced if you collect on his/her record.
-If you file for benefits before you reach your FRA, Social security automatically gives you the larger of your own benefit or your benefit as an ex-spouse. You are then limited and cannot switch to your own benefit at your FRA or deferred to any time up to age 70.
-If you wait until your FRA and collect your spousal benefit based on ex-spouse’s record, you can switch to your own benefit any time between your FRA and age 70. If your FRA is age 66, waiting until age 70 increases your benefit by 32%, quite a large increase!
If you have questions or need help navigating the financial waters of a divorce or separation, please visit Thea's website: www.GlazerFinancialAdvisors.com