Social Security Benefits for divorced spouses

Divorced spouses may be entitled to one half the wage earner's "full benefit" amount. The full benefit amount is based on the wage earner's work history. In 2012, the maximum monthly benefit was $2,513, and in 2013, the maximum benefit was $2,533. Divorced spouses may also receive Social Security disability benefits based on their divorced spouse’s earnings record. These benefits apply either to divorced opposite sex or same sex couples in many states.

Many figures used to calculate Social Security Spouse benefits are revised annually by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Federal agency that administers the program. These figures are usually updated in October and can be found in the November issue of the Federal Register, the official government source for administrative changes.

Note: the press office of the Social Security Administration issues annual updates on the Social Security cost-of-living increases. The figures are reliable and are updated each year after October 1st, based on an examination of changes in the Consumer Price Index since the previous year.

You can also find the figures on the SSA website, or by calling Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or TTY at 1-800-325-0778 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The amount of your benefits depends upon the work record of your spouse. You will receive a percentage of your spouse's benefit amount. If others also receive a benefit on your spouses work record, your benefits may be reduced if the total amount of benefits paid on a single work record exceeds a family maximum.


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 must be 62 or older (and not entitled to your own social security benefit which is greater than the divorced spouse benefit) and
  • You must have been divorced for at least 2 years.


Income Eligibility:


Asset Eligibility:


Apply at:

Social Security Office.  Locate your Social Security Office

  • You can appeal any denial, termination, or reduction of benefits
  • You must file an appeal within 60 days of the date of the written notice with which you disagree.
  • In addition, you have a 5 day "grace period" to allow for the mailing of the notice to you, making the total amount of time you have to file an appeal 60+5 days.
Source of Funds:

Social Security Trust Fund

Sources of Law:
Is this legal advice?

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