Received a call from a colleague recently wanting to know if Social Security benefits are subject to equitable distribution in divorce matters in the state of Pennsylvania. I love these kinds of questions from my colleagues as it’s a good opportunity to check the status of the law – and a refresher.
Here’s what I found –
“. . . Social Security benefits are not subject to equitable distribution. See Flemming v. Nestor, 363 U.S. 603, 609-10, 80 S. Ct. 1367, 1371-72, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1435 (1960) (“[t]o engraft upon the Social Security system a concept of `accrued property rights’ would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands.”); Sorbello v. Sorbello, 21 D & C 3d 187, 196 (1981) (social security benefits are not marital property; “[w]hereas, in general, individuals accrue property rights to pensions, a form of deferred compensation, they accrue no property rights to Social Security benefits.”). A trial court may only distribute money and property that is part of the marital estate. In the instant case, the trial court divided monies that were not assets of the marriage.” Powell v. Powell, 577 A.2d 576 (Pa. 1990, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
If you have a concern about how Social Security disability benefits impact your divorce, an attorney who handles family law matters can help you. Also, if you have a Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income case – my office understands the challenges you are facing and can guide you through the difficult decisions you need to make. Many times we work hand in hand with divorce lawyers.
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Our Law Office was recently nominated as one of Butler’s Best Law Offices. The contest is run by the Butler Radio Network. Voting began yesterday and runs through October 25, 2018. We are honored to be nominated. Our office has been serving the Western PA area – working primarily in the area of Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. We are committed to putting people first, being fit, taking the next step, making it better, owning it, treat people better, and celebrate often. Please vote for our law office today.
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In June 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states and that the marriage would be recognized. They ended the debate or whether same-sex marriage was legal, giving homosexual couples the same rights that had been afforded to heterosexual couples for decades.
Among all other legal rights given, same sex couples could now qualify to receive Social Security benefits for themselves and their family from their spouse. Upon the passing of the legalization of same-sex marriage, the Social Security Administration encouraged all same sex couples who believe they might qualify for benefits to apply immediately, so as not to lose any more time. If you are a same-sex couple, the benefits you are eligible for are the same as if you were a heterosexual couple; you can now qualify for survivor benefits, retirement benefits, or disability benefits.
The benefits that you are eligible to receive would depend on the earnings of your spouse, and it would be a percentage of their Social Security amount. It is also important to note that if you remarry before you are 60 years of age, you will no longer be able to receive benefits. Any remarriage after 60, however, still allows you to qualify for benefits from your deceased spouse.
The Social Security Administration also recognizes some non-marital legal relationships, such as civil unions and domestic partnerships, for the purposes of determining some benefits as well.