When some Connecticut couples get a divorce, one person might be able to draw Social Security retirement payments on the ex-spouse's earnings record. However, this is only possible if the two were married for at least 10 years.
It is also necessary for there to have been a disparity in income. Social Security payments are calculated using the highest-earning 35 years of a person's working life. The monthly average is a person's monthly payments. Spousal benefits are calculated by subtracting this amount from half of the spouse's monthly payment. If this is a negative number, the person is not eligible for payments on the spouse's earnings.
Both spouses must be at least 62 in order to start drawing these payments. However, the payments will be reduced until the person waits until reaching the full retirement age of 67 to draw them. In some cases, waiting until 70 will mean higher payments. Several other elements must also be in place. The divorce must have been final at least two years before applying for spousal benefits. A person must remain single to receive spousal benefits although in some cases, if a subsequent marriage has ended, a person might be able to draw benefits on the previous marriage. A person's Social Security retirement payments are not reduced as a result of an ex-spouse receiving these benefits.
Social Security spousal benefits may not be the only protection a lower-earning spouse might be entitled to. There may be a retirement account that a couple splits. Furthermore, a person may receive spousal support for a certain amount of time, such as while that person is training for a new job. People may suffer a drop in their standard of living after a divorce, so it can be important for people to protect themselves during property division negotiations. Having the advice and counsel of an attorney might be advisable during the process.