Although many of our Arizona family law posts apply equally to men and women, today’s entry is decidedly a bit more geared toward the latter. The topic spotlights spousal claims on an ex’s Social Security work benefits, and it has historically been the case that benefits claimants are most often females.
That makes sense, of course. For many baby boomer-aged couples now in a position to be thinking about SS benefits, it is often the male who compiled a more comprehensive work history. Many women who are now approaching 60 or well beyond that age sacrificed much in terms of a career and paystubs to be home managers and child providers while their husbands worked outside the home.
It is obviously true in such cases that an ex-husband’s monthly entitlement will be comparatively higher than his former wife’s earnings, with it being logical under certain circumstances for the latter to make a legal claim upon it.
That is expressly allowed for under federal law, subject to (unsurprisingly) a few inserted caveats and wrinkles.
Here is the general rule: An applicant is eligible to claim an ex-partner’s benefits if she (again, we’re stressing the wife here, although ex-husbands, too, make claims) is at least 62 and was married for a minimum period of 10 years. Additionally, a claimant cannot be remarried at the time a claim is filed.
It can understandably make strong sense for some individuals to file, given that a monthly income check based on higher lifetime earnings can materially promote an enhanced lifestyle.
Questions concerning claim benefits based on an ex-spouse’s work history can be addressed to an experienced family law attorney.