social security

Social Security
If you’re going through a divorce later in life, social security benefits should absolutely be a topic of conversation.

A few years back I wrote a post about things to consider when divorcing later in life. One of these considerations was Social Security. Social Security continues to be an important topic of discussion for any couple divorcing later in life, because it can have a significant impact on income and sometimes retirement benefits.

Of course, just when we get comfortable with the rules and how they’re applied, Congress goes and shakes things up. As part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, just signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, the federal government is eliminating two key pieces of Social Security that are important for retirement planning for married and divorce spouses alike.… Keep reading

Andrea Dunbar Burns & Levinson Attorney

Hi there,

Gray divorce is on the increase.  As Boomers age they are deciding to divorce.  There are a number of issues that are of particular importance.  My very talented colleague Andrea Dunbar has written today about Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Best,

Nancy 

__________

Andrea Dunbar Burns & Levinson AttorneyWhile each divorce case presents its own set of complex facts and circumstances, divorces involving older clients (also known as “gray divorce”) can be especially complex.  Issues such as Social Security, Medicare, retirement benefits and estate planning are, more often than not, fringe issues when dealing with couples divorcing at other points in life.  These issues come to the forefront, and sometimes become of critical importance when a divorce occurs later in life.    

Social Security

It is important to know the ins and outs of Social Security when going through a divorce during advanced age.  The rules of Social Security, like most other federal benefits programs, are counter-intuitive and often lead to surprising results. 

A widow or widower at full retirement age or older receives 100% of a deceased spouse’s basic Social Security benefit amount.  The same is true even if the spouses are divorced, as long as they were married for at least … Keep reading

Applying for Social Security Survivor’s Benefits During the DOMA Appeal

Hi there,

The Supreme Court announces today whether or not they are going to take up a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in a case arising out of Social Security benefits. As promised, here is a different point of view to last week’s post.  This one is authored by my partner Lisa Cukier, one of our experts in the intricacies of gay and lesbian divorce.

Best,

Nancy

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996, denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples.  DOMA denies the existence of same-sex marriages by stating that marriages may only be between one man and one woman. Consequently, the federal government is allowed to deny gay spouses certain marriage-based advantages that straight spouses routinely and unquestionably receive, such as tax advantages, health and retirement benefits, Veteran’s benefits, Social Security Administration benefits and other federally based advantages, thus treating gay married Americans as second class citizens.

Social Security benefits, such as survivor’s benefits that permit a widow to receive her deceased spouse’s Social Security after her spouse’s death, are one such federal benefit. Gay widows and widowers are ineligible for their late spouse’s Social Security simply because they … Keep reading

Defense of Marriage Act and Social Security

Hi there,

An important date in the DOMA battle is coming up soon.  On November 30, the Supreme Court will announce whether it will be taking up the matter in its next term.  In light of that, there is considerable discussion of what gay and lesbian married couples should do to maximize their rights should DOMA be struck down.  This week my Burns & Levinson partner, Evelyn Haralampu, has a piece on DOMA and Social Security benefits.  Next week, our colleague Lisa Cukier will share an alternative view on the subject.

Keep reading below.

Best,

Nancy

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996 under the Clinton administration, denies federal benefits to married, same-sex couples.  Because DOMA does not recognize same-sex marriage, no federal benefits based on marriage (such as Social Security survivor benefits, joint federal income tax filing, etc.) are available to same-sex, married couples.

A number of federal courts have found DOMA unconstitutional.  In February of this year, the Obama administration ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the law.  However, for state law purposes, 32 states do not recognize same-sex marriages.  The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to decide … Keep reading