Peaceful Divorce

Social Security and Divorce: What are you entitled to?...

My 62 year old widowed mother recently began receiving my father's social security death benefits. We had to call the social security office to find out how the process works. I became curious about what benefits- if any-divorced people are entitled to. During my own divorce, my lawyer never discussed this issue with me. After 13 years of marriage, most of those spent as a stay at home mom, if I would be entitled to my ex-husband's social security benefits.

I went to the government's website for Social Security and here is what you need to know:

If you are divorced after at least 10 years of marriage, you can collect retirement benefits on your former spouse's Social Security record if you are at least age 62 and if your former spouse is entitled to or receiving benefits. If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse's record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment).

If your divorced spouse dies, you can receive benefits as a widow/widower if the marriage lasted 10 years or more. Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse who is 60 or older will not affect the benefit rates for other survivors receiving benefits.

In general, you cannot receive survivors benefits if you remarry before the age of 60 unless the latter marriage ends, whether by death, divorce, or annulment.

If you remarry after age 60 (50 if disabled), you can still collect benefits on your former spouse’s record. When you reach age 62 or older, you may get retirement benefit on the record of your new spouse if they are higher. Your remarriage would have no effect on the benefits being paid to your children.

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