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December 17, 2020

The Impact of Divorce on Your Boeing Benefits

Going through a divorce is never easy. I've had a few Boeing clients reach out to me and express concern about how their divorce might impact their BA benefits package. In an attempt to help other Boeing employees who may be wondering the same thing, I've done some research and here is what I found.

BA and Divorce

Are you divorced or in the process of divorcing? Your former spouse(s) may have an interest in a portion of your BA retirement benefits.

“Happily ever after” and “until death do us part” won’t happen for 28% of couples over the age of 50.3. Most couples saved together for decades, assuming they would retire together. After a divorce, they face the expenses of a pre- or post-retirement life, but with half their savings.(33)

What's required?

Before you can start your pension—and for each former spouse who may have an interest—you’ll need to provide BA with the following

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A copy of the court-filed Judgment of Dissolution or Judgment of Divorce along with any Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)
A copy of the court-filed Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

You’ll need to submit this documentation to the BA online Pension Center regardless of how old the divorce or how short the marriage.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t provide BA with the required documentation, your pension benefit could be delayed or suspended.

Social Security and Divorce

You can apply for a divorced spouse’s benefit if the following criteria are met:

You are at least 62 years of age
You were married for at least 10 years prior to the divorce
You are currently unmarried
Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits
Your own Social Security benefit amount is less than your spousal benefit amount, which is equal to one-half of what your ex’s full benefit amount would be if claimed at Full Retirement Age (FRA)

Unlike with a married couple, your ex-spouse doesn’t have to have filed for Social Security before you can apply for your divorced spouse’s benefit, but this only applies if you’ve been divorced for at least two years and your ex is at least 62 years of age. If the divorce was less than two years ago, your ex must already be receiving benefits before you can file as a divorced spouse.

Divorce doesn’t even disqualify you from survivor benefits. You can claim a divorced spouse’s survivor benefit if the following are true:

Your ex-spouse is deceased
You are at least 60 years of age
You were married for at least 10 years prior to the divorce
You are single (or you remarried after age 60)

In the process of divorcing?

If your divorce isn’t final before your retirement date, you’re still considered married. You have two options:

Retire before your divorce is final and elect a joint pension of at least 50% with your spouse—or get your spouse’s signed, notarized consent to a different election
Delay your retirement until after your divorce is final and you can provide the required divorce documentation

Want to learn about the different stages of retirement? Visit: https://techstaffer.blog/2019/11/14/boeing-stages-of-retirement/ 

If you’d like to read about survivor benefits, visit: https://techstaffer.blog/2019/11/28/survivor-checklist-how-your-spouse-can-receive-boeing-benefits-after-your-death/ 

Wondering if you should work in retirement? Visit: https://techstaffer.blog/2019/12/05/life-after-boeing-should-i-work-in-retirement/ 

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The Retirement Group or www.theretirementgroup.com
“Retirement Plans-Benefits & Savings.” U.S. Department of Labor, 2019, www.dol.gov/general/topic/retirement.
“Generating Income That Will Last throughout Retirement.” Fidelity, 22 Jan. 2019, www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/retirement/income-that-can-last-lifetime.
BA Summary Plan Description, 2017