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What are Social Security Benefits for Divorced Spouses?
Divorced spouses may be entitled to up to half of the wage earner's "full benefit" amount. The full benefit amount is based on the wage earner's work history. Divorced spouses may also receive Social Security disability benefits based on their divorced spouse’s earnings record.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) generally revises the figures to calculate Social Security Spouse benefits each year. You can find the figures on the SSA website, or by calling Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
The benefits amount depends upon the work record of your spouse and possibly your work record. You will receive a percentage of your spouse's benefit amount. If others also receive a benefit on your spouses work record, then your benefits may be reduced if the total amount of benefits paid on a single work record exceeds a family maximum.
Read the Law: U.S. Code, Title 42 § 402(b)&(c); § 416(d)
Read the Regulations: U.S, Code of Federal Regulations, Title 20 §§ 404.331
You must meet all the following conditions:
- You are the divorced spouse of a wage earner who is entitled to retirement or disability benefits;
- You were validly married at least 10 years prior to final divorce;
- You are not currently married;
- You are 62 or older (and not entitled to your own Social Security benefit that is greater than the divorced spouse benefit); and
- You must have been divorced for at least 2 years.
Even if the wage earner remarries, you are eligible for benefits if you meet the requirements.
Income - There are no income eligibility requirements.
Asset - There are no asset eligibility requirements.
You can apply for Social Security benefits online, in-person at your local office, or by telephone (1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you don’t live in the United States, contact the Federal Benefits Unit in your country of residence.
The SSA’s website has detailed information about how to apply, including the documents you need to gather, the application process, and what happens once you’ve applied.
You can appeal any denial, termination, or reduction of benefits. You generally must file an appeal within 60 days of the written notice with which you disagree. The SSA website has detailed information about appeals.