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Forbes: Ten Nasty Social Security Gotchas to Avoid

Ten Nasty Social Security Gotchas to Avoid

2. If you and your ex-husband reach full retirement without either of you having filed for your retirement benefit, both of you can collect spousal benefits equal to half the full retirement benefit of the other provided you just apply for your spousal benefit and wait, say, to 70 to collect your retirement benefit.

But if you are married, there’s a gotcha. Only one of you can collect this “free” spousal benefit. In short, the Social Security rules are encouraging you to get divorced. If you do this at least two years before reaching full retirement age, you can both get “free” spousal benefits. You can, as far as Uncle Sam is concerned, continue to live in sin, and get remarried at 70. And if you get divorced after age 60, this won’t affect your survivor benefits if one of you dies. For some couples, where both have had significant earnings, getting this extra “free” spousal benefit can be worth as much as $60,000. A no-fault divorce can cost less than $500. So, …


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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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