Is a Divorced Spouse Eligible for Survivor Benefits?

June 18th, 2020 Social Security Disability
Picture of a couple sitting with attorney signing divorce papers

For many survivors, their spouse’s benefits can make an impact. These benefits often help to keep them financially afloat. But what about ex-spouses who are divorced from the deceased after years of marriage; do they receive benefits too?

Ex-Spouses Married for at Least a Decade

Surviving divorced spouses who were married to their husband or wife for at least 10 years are eligible to receive the same Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as those who were still married to them at the time of their death.

Should a surviving divorced spouse qualify for retirement benefits by themselves, they can switch as early as age 62. It’s important to note that the benefits that a surviving divorced spouse receives will not impact that of other survivors. Neither will getting remarried after the age of 60 (50 if disabled).

The Impact of Benefits on Other Survivors

However, if you are caring for a child of the decedent’s, who is under age 16 or disabled and gets benefits on your record, you will not have to meet the length-of-marriage rule. Still, the child must be yours either naturally or through legal adoption.

Additionally, their benefits in this case may have an impact on the amount of benefits that other survivors receive based upon your earnings record.

Ex-Spouses who are at Least Full Retirement Age

  • Individuals who are at least the age of full retirement will receive 100 percent of the SSD or retirement benefits of their ex-spouse.

Ex-Spouses who are 60 through Full Retirement Age

  • From the age of 60 through full retirement age, you will receive somewhere between 71.5 percent and 99 percent of your deceased ex-spouse’s SSD or retirement benefit.

Ex-Spouses who are 50 through 59 and Disabled

  • From the age of 50 through 59, if you are disabled, you will receive 71.5 percent of your deceased ex-spouse’s SSD or retirement benefits. However, it’s important to note that your disability must have occurred prior to the death of your ex-spouse or within seven years of his or her death.

Ex-Spouses who are Caring for the Decedent’s Child (Under the age of 16)

  • If you are caring for a child under the age of 16 and who is receiving SSD or retirement benefits on your deceased ex-spouse’s record, you will receive 75 percent of your deceased ex-spouse’s SSDI or retirement benefit, subject to the maximum family benefit.

Those who work while they receive a survivor’s benefit may have their benefit reduced. This is dependent upon your age and income.

Let The Disability Attorneys of Michigan Help You

For 20 years, Disability Attorneys of Michigan has helped the disabled of Michigan obtain the Social Security Disability Benefits they deserve. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-701-5524.

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I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.