When congress passed it’s new budget law that takes effect May 2016, millions of women who were entitled to take half the value of their ex-spouse’s social security and then switch to their fully vested social security at age 70, can no longer do this. For reasons that escape me, while congress (and yes, Obama signed it into law) wrote the changes to close a loophole for married couples where there are two social security incomes, they also thought it would be a good idea to condemn divorced women to accept a lower amount earlier dooming them to collect the lower amount for the rest of their lives.
For those now under 62, the bill extends deeming, which now ends at full retirement age (age 66), through age 70. Deeming is the requirement that if a) you take your retirement benefit and are eligible to collect your spousal benefit, you are forced to take both at once and b) if you take your spousal benefit, you are forced to simultaneously take your retirement benefit. Since Social Security effectively only pays the larger of the two benefits, being forced to take both benefits at once means that you lose one of the two benefits.
I had planned to begin collecting on my ex-husband’s social security until I turned 70 years old and then I intended to switch to my full amount, which hopefully would be more than taking his half early. Remember, you are not actually taking anything away from your ex-spouse’s entitlement. They still receive their full entitlement based on when the file. As long as you were married over 10 years and have been divorced for over two, you still can file but when you do, Social Security figures out the maximum amount you have coming to you based on when you file, sixty-two and a half, sixty-six or seventy years of age.
The earlier you file the less social security you receive, for life.
The earlier you file, the less you receive, and now that is for the rest of your days if you are divorced. This rule is not gender specific, it is not just for women, but the reason this rule exists is an acknowledgement that women earn less than men and frequently work fewer years due to child-rearing.
Now your choices are file and live with that amount for the rest of your life, or postpone filing until you are sixty-six, or seventy. With older women so de-valued in the workplace, and the natural demands of aging, where are our jobs? Target? Walmart? Where do you see our faces in the workplace?