If you are divorced, there are several things you should know about Social Security. A divorced spouse may be eligible for benefits on more than one work record—such as one’s own record and an ex-spouse’s record. This applies to both divorced men and women. If you’ve never asked Social Security about receiving benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work, you should consider it. Some divorced people may get a higher benefit based on their ex’s work.
If your ex-spouse is living, you can receive benefits based on his or her work if:
• 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’s work; and
• Your ex is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
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; or
• At any age if you are caring for your ex-spouse’s child who also is your natural or legally adopted child and is younger than 16 or disabled and entitled to benefits. Your benefits will continue until the child reaches age 16 or is no longer disabled. In this case, you can receive this benefit even though you were not married to your ex-spouse for 10 years.
When you apply, you will need to give your ex’s Social Security number. If you do not know his or her number, you will need to provide your ex’s date and place of birth, and parents’ names.
When you apply for benefits, Social Security can figure out if you are due a higher amount based on your ex-spouse’s record. Once again, these same rules apply for both ex-husbands and ex-wives.