Can Divorced Spouses Receive Social Security Benefits?

By August 28, 2020 September 1st, 2020 No Comments

If you were married to someone that’s now receiving Social Security benefits or is 62 or older, you might be entitled to spousal benefits as a prior spouse. 

In short, if your marriage lasted more than ten years, you’re currently unmarried and 62 or older, you could receive benefits.  As AARP notes, even if your ex-spouse has remarried, you can receive benefits as long as the spouse passes the qualification test, and you can even begin withdrawing benefits if the ex-spouse hasn’t.

What If An Ex-Spouse is Deceased?

If your ex-spouse has died, conditions change.

You’d have to be 60 or older (50 if disabled), the marriage must have lasted more than ten years, you didn’t remarry before age 60 (50 if disabled), and your own retirement benefit isn’t more than what you could claim on your ex-spouse’s record. 

What About Children?

If your ex-spouse is deceased, and you are unmarried, you may be entitled to benefits on your ex-spouse’s earnings record at any age if you’re providing care for that ex-spouse’s child who is also your natural or legally adopted child and is younger than 16 or disabled. These benefits would continue until the child turns 16 or is no longer disabled.

In the case of multiple ex-spouses, all may be entitled to benefits. Social Security doesn’t have a particular stipulation based on who applies first. If you meet the conditions, you may get benefits. 

In any case, documentation will be vital to successfully prove any claim. Be prepared to show divorce documents, birth certificates, and marriage licenses. 


Social Security is complicated enough. Adding ex-spouses to the equation can make things overwhelming. Call the knowledgeable Social Security claims team at Drew L. Johnson, P.C. today at (541) 434-6466 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about how we’ve helped Oregon residents earn what’s theirs.

Drew L. Johnson

Drew L. Johnson

Drew L. Johnson has been fighting for the rights of Lane County Social Security Disability claimants for more than 40 years. Learn More