For older adults who are considered senior citizens, getting divorced can be an emotionally challenging process. However, there are some financial silver linings to getting divorced in your senior years. This includes a host of Social Security benefits that you may be able to qualify for and gain early access to a retirement fund.
For those aged 59 ½ and older, it is possible to withdraw money from your retirement account without paying an early withdrawal penalty fee. If you divorce your partner and reach a qualified domestic relations order agreement, you won’t have to pay the typical 10% penalty fee.
However, you may still need to pay income tax if the money isn’t deposited into an IRA.
For those who are divorced, you may be entitled to special Social Security spousal benefits after you retire. If your marriage lasted 10 years or more, you might be eligible for these benefits. Typically, a married spouse needs to wait for their husband or wife to reach age 62 to receive spousal benefits. This is not the case for most divorced individuals.
In the unfortunate event that your former spouse passes away, you may also receive the full amount of their Social Security benefit.
However, you need to meet some requirements including having a marriage that lasted at least 10 years or more, being 60 years old or older, and not be entitled to retirement benefits equal or greater than that of your former spouse's benefit.
To prevent social isolation from setting in after a recent divorce, learn about the benefits of companion care for seniors at Senior Strong.
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.