December 18th, 2014
Amidst the frustrations and nuances in divorce, one of the greatest disagreements stem from the division of property. While properties such as a home or automobiles are rarely overlooked, it’s important that separating couples remember to consider Social Security and Disability payments when accounting for martial assets.
Two basic facts a person must consider regarding his or her disability benefits:
-Disability payments are distributed on a regular basis and are treated as earnings, not assets (for example, worker’s compensation). Therefore, Disability benefits are counted as income when calculating spousal support and child support.
-The aforementioned remains true until the disabled spouse reaches an age when he or she would have retired with a pension benefit.
A divorced person can be eligible for a portion of a former spouse’s Social Security or Disability benefits if specific conditions are met, based upon his or her work history. A person may still collect benefits if:
-The marriage lasted for at least 10 years.
-The former spouse must be presently qualified for Social Security benefits—retirement or disability.
-The former spouse pursuing benefits must be at least age 62.
-The former spouse pursuing benefits has not remarried.
If a spouse is qualified for his or her own retirement benefits, the government will pay from his or her own personal record first. However, if the ex-spouse’s benefit sum is higher, he or she will collect a combination of benefits equivalent to the greater amount.
The matter of marriage span is a frequent concern when divorcing couples consider Social Security or Disability payments. If a couple is nearing the 10-year mark, many feel delaying the divorce is favorable, in order to receive a former spouse’s Social Security benefits.
Divorce can become an incredibly tricky situation to navigate, especially when deciding asset division. It’s important that couples who receive Social Security or Disability payments consult with a professional to make sure both parties receive the intended martial assets.
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