“Does alimony still have to be paid when the x-spouse files and receives social security benefits off of the one paying alimony or do the two combined just have to equal the amount? For example: alimony is $1,000.00 a month and social security she receives would be $800.00…..would only $200.00 need to be paid out of pocket to equal the $1,000.00? If not, how does it work?”
The order for spousal support does not automatically adjust when she starts to receive benefits. If the spousal support is “permanent” support, it is likely it will not adjust at all. Though you may be entitled to a reduction in spousal support based on these changed circumstances, it will usually not be some dollar for dollar reduction. You will both get to be better off for her increased income, but it will likely be more of a pro rata reduction rather than a reduction of $800.
A way to look at it might be if you were making $3000, and she was entitled to one third of the family earnings. At $4000, she might still be entitled to that percentage. If the total earnings are now $4000, one third is $1333. So spousal might drop to only $333. Again, if this was in the nature of permanent support after a marriage of long duration, the amount may not change at all. Consult a local attorney.