Social Security Choices

Who Qualifies?

If your ex-spouse is living, you can qualify for benefits based on their earnings record if the following conditions are met:

  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer.
  • You are unmarried.
  • You are age 62 or older
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefits you would receive on your ex-spouse's work
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement benefits.

If your ex-spouse has not applied for benefits, but can qualify for them and is age 62 or older, you can receive benefits on his work if you have been divorced from him for at least two years.

If your ex-spouse is deceased, you can receive benefits:

  • At age 60, or age 50 if you are disabled, if your marriage lasted at least 10 years, and you are not entitled to a higher benefit on your own record.

You can get more information on these matters from the SSA page: "If you are divorced". If you are a divorced widow(er), see instead their page: "If You're the Worker's Surviving Divorced Spouse" for more information. Divorced women (and even some divorced men) may also find the SSA publication "What Every Woman Should Know" informative.