Today I wanted to share a little information about Social Security that might help some of you. I am all about trying to work the stupid DOMA rules to our advantage, so here is the latest and greatest idea that I have to share.
Have you ever been married to someone of the opposite sex? Did it last at least 10 years? If so, keep reading!
Under Social Security rules, if you were married for 10 years, got a divorce, and never remarried, you may be eligible for a portion of your ex-spouse's Social Security benefits when you reach age 62. And as we know, DOMA doesn’t recognize gay marriage on the state level, so any gay person who was at one point in a heterosexual marriage may qualify for this benefit.
So how does it work? And how much do you get? Both good questions, my friends!
How it works:
• You need to have been married for 10 years.
• You must be divorced for at least two years.
• Your ex- spouse must have worked enough to qualify for Social Security (40 quarters of work, i.e. 10 years).
• Your ex- spouse must have been a higher wage earner than you.
How much do you get? Half of what your ex’s benefit is!
You may ask, why? Why would I want half of a benefit? Well, it’s all part of the grand plan, you see. If you take half of your ex’s benefit from age 62 until your full retirement age, then turn on YOUR benefit (and shut theirs off), then you get your full retirement benefit.
Basically, you wait until full retirement age to get your full amount of Social Security, but in the meantime, you get little extra somethin’ somethin’ in your pocket. Call it an appetizer. Call it a reward for surviving 10 years in your marriage. Call it whatever you want. But you can get a few extra bucks in your pocket that you may not have known about.
Now here is the disclaimer: Social Security is tricky, so talk to your financial advisor or the Social Security office first. I am one of the few ADPAs (Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor) here in the state of Florida. Take advantage of that and give me a call if you have questions!
Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial, the largest independent broker/dealer in the United States, according to Financial Planning Magazine (June 1996-2012 based on total revenue). She is a member of the Tampa Bay Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and a 2012 finalist for the Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year award given by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. E-mail her with any additional questions.
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