Social Security benefits can be an integral part of a divorce case. The ages of parties when they divorce may create a factual circumstance where the timing of Social Security benefits needs to be considered. Suffice to say, Social Security is a vast and complicated system but, as pointed out in an excellent article by economist Larry Kotlikoff, it is one that can provide some significant benefits if applicants know what they are doing. Mr. Kotlikoff was featured on PBS Newshour’s webpage recently and wrote "34 Social Security ‘Secrets’ All Baby Boomers and Millions of Current Recipients Need to Know". The article is as informative as it is intimidating as to the variety of options available to retirees and how best to maximize their benefits.
In Rimel v. Rimel, 913 A.2d 289 (Pa. Super. 2006), the Superior Court addressed an issue of first impression: whether husband was entitled to a social security set-off against the value of his Federal CSRS pension where he had worked not only for the federal government, but also in jobs through which he did contribute to the social security system.
The Court decided that Husband was entitled to such a set-off, but remanded the matter for additional testimony, as the facts had not been developed which would allow for the determination of what amounted to be a "partial set-off".
The Court cited the following cases:
Cornbleth, 580 A.2d 369 (Pa. Super. 1990)
Twilla, 664 A.2d 1020 (Pa. Super. 1995)
The Court distinguished the following cases:
Elhajj, 605 A.2d 1268 (Pa. Super. 1992)
McClain, 693 A.2d 1355 (Pa. Super. 1997)