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My ex-husband lost his job. Can I collect his social security if I am not yet 62?

Rutherford, NJ |

My ex-husband lost his job and I am getting a very small amount of alimony based on his unemployment. When his unemployment runs out I will no longer receive any alimony. Since I am entitled to permanent alimony will I be able to collect on his social security even if I am not 62. He is 62 and I am 55. Thank you for your help.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You will be entitled to continuing receiving alimony from you ex, whether from his unemployment benefits; his receipt of social security benefits; or hopefully from a new source of earned income, until there is an Order entered modifying or terminating your right to receive alimony.

    The Answer provided was based on the limited information provided, and represents information based on the law in general, not a legal opinion that can be relied upon. Before a formal legal opinion can be offered I would need an opportunity to review all possible relevant facts and circumstances. You cannot rely on the advice of an attorney given over the internet. The exact facts of your sitaution, including facts which you have not mentioned in your question, may completely change the opinion that is being offered. Please be aware that the above comments are neither protected by attorney-client privilege, nor may the same be the basis for a malpractice lawsuit.

  2. No, you cannot collect Social Security retirement spousal benefits on his account until your are 62 years of age - this does not take money away from him, it is extra money in addition to the benefits he is getting. You can, however, have a current or past due spousal support order enforced via garnishment of his Social Security benefits.

    So for Social Security benefits purposes, a divorced spouse can collect benefits on the account of the ex-spouse. At most, your benefit will be 50% of what your ex-spouse would receive at their full retirement age, if this amount is larger than what you could receive based on your own work record.

    If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried). You must also meet the following criteria: You are currently unmarried and you are at least age 62.

    (There are exceptions to the criteria above if your ex-spouse is deceased.)

    The Social Security system limits the garnishment amount to the lesser of the State maximum or the maximum under the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA) (15 U.S.C. 1673(b)) and is based on the law of the State where the beneficiary resides. Hereafter, the CCPA limit is referred to as the “Federal” limit. The CCPA limits garnishment to:

    50%, if the beneficiary is supporting a spouse and/or child other than the spouse and/or child whose support has been ordered.

    60%, if the beneficiary is not supporting another spouse and/or child.

    55% or 65% respectively, if the garnishment order or other evidence submitted indicates the original support ordered is 12 or more weeks in arrears.

    NOTE: SSI (Supplemental Security Income) payments are not subject to garnishment.

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

  3. No, you cannot. He will still have to pay the alimony unless/until it is modified or terminated.

    DISCLAIMER This answer is provided for educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client privilege between you and the attorney responding. This site cannot be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices law in the State where this offense is charged; and, who has experience in the area of law you are asking questions about and with whom you would have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question, or in the State where this charge is filed

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