Social Security benefits in Oklahoma are distributed through the United States Social Security Administration, an independent agency of the federal government. Following are some factors that affect whether you are eligible to receive your ex’s Social Security benefits in Oklahoma.
Social Security Benefit Qualifications if you are Divorced
The Social Security Administration treats ex-spouses much the same way as they treat current spouses, providing they meet the qualifications. Generally, you may collect Social Security benefits in Oklahoma from your ex-spouse’s Social Security work record if you were married at least ten years and you are 62 years of age or older. Your ex must be entitled to retirement or disability Social Security benefits, and, if you are entitled to benefits from your work record, your benefit would be less than the amount you would be entitled to from your ex-spouse’s work record. You are not entitled to any benefits from your ex-spouse if you are remarried unless you have divorced again. In that case, you may be entitled to either one of the ex’s benefits and can choose the one that has the largest Social Security benefits if you meet the qualifications.
Social Security Benefit Qualifications if your Ex is Deceased
If your marriage lasted more than ten years before your ex-spouse died, you could receive benefits the same as a widow or widower if you meet the age or disability requirement. Your benefits will not affect the amount that may be paid to others entitled to collect benefits from your ex’s work record. You may receive reduced benefits beginning at age 60, but if you wait until the full retirement age for survivors, you may receive full benefits.
If you remarry before 60 years of age, you will not be eligible for surviving spouse benefits. If you remarry after you reach 60 years of age, or become disabled after age 50, you could still qualify for benefits.
Qualifications if you Become Disabled and your Ex is Deceased
To qualify for Social Security disability surviving spouse benefits, you must be totally disabled and unable to do the work that you did before, your disability is expected to last for at least one year or in your death, and the Social Security Administration determines that you cannot adjust to other work because of your disability. You may qualify for benefits if you become disabled at or after age 50 and your disability began before or within seven years of your ex’s death provided that you meet the other requirements noted above.
Qualifications if you are Entitled to Receive a Pension from your Employment and your Ex is Deceased
If you are eligible for your own pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security, such as foreign or government work where you did not pay Social Security taxes, your benefits as a survivor may be affected. When you begin receiving your pension, Social Security will reduce the amount of your surviving spouse benefits by two-thirds. For example, if your pension is $600 per month, $400 of that amount will be used to offset your Social Security benefits. In that example, if you are receiving $500 as your surviving spouse benefit, that amount will be reduced by $400 and you will receive $100 per month.
You may qualify for an exemption from your benefits being offset by your pension. If you receive a pension from the government that is not based on your earnings, your benefits will not be reduced. If you were a federal, state or local government employee and paid Social Security taxes, your benefits may not be reduced if you qualified for or received surviving spouse benefits before April 1, 2004, your last day of work that your pension is based on was before July 1, 2004, or you paid Social Security taxes during the last 60 months of your government service. You may qualify for exemption from the offset if you paid Social Security taxes during your government service that was less than 60 months if your last day of employment was after June 30, 2004, but before March 2, 2009.
Qualifications if you are Disabled and have a Child that is your Ex’s Natural or Legally Adopted Child
If you have a child that is your ex’s natural or legally adopted child who is getting Social Security benefits from your ex-spouse, you do not have to meet the years of marriage requirement. You may be eligible if you are caring for the child and your disability begins while the child is receiving benefits or the benefits ended within seven years of your disability. Your benefits will affect the amount that is paid to others eligible to receive Social Security benefits in Oklahoma from your ex’s work record.
Working While Receiving Ex’s Social Security Benefits in Oklahoma
You can work while receiving survivor’s benefits; however, there is a limit to how much you can earn. For example, the limit set for 2014 is $15,480 per year. If you earn more than that, the Social Security Administration will reduce your benefits $1 for every $2 that you earn over the limit. When you reach full retirement age, the limit for 2014 is $41,400. The Administration will reduce your benefits $1 for every $3 earned over that limit, but only up to the month that you are eligible for full retirement. Once you reach full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced no matter how much you earn. Your full retirement age depends on the year that you were born.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney
Social Security Administration regulations are complex. A Tulsa divorce attorney has the knowledge and experience to determine whether you may be eligible for your ex’s Social Security benefits in Oklahoma. Call Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526 to schedule your free consultation today.