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Entitlement of a Surviving Divorced Wife or Husband

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

403. Entitlement of a Surviving Divorced Wife or Husband

403.1 When is a surviving divorced wife or husband entitled to benefits on the worker's Social Security record?

You are entitled to surviving divorced wife's or husband's insurance benefits on the deceased worker's Social Security record if:

  1. You are either (1) age 60 or over; or (2) at least age 50 but not age 60 and disabled (as defined in §515) and you meet the disability-related requirements in §513;

  2. The worker died fully insured (see §203.1);

  3. You are not married (see §406 for exceptions); and

  4. You meet the requirements in §401 (C) and (D).

403.2 Who is a surviving divorced wife or husband?

You are a surviving divorced wife or husband if you were married to the worker for at least 10 years just before the date the divorce became final. You meet this definition even if you were divorced within the 10-year period, provided you remarried the worker no later than the calendar year after the year of the divorce.

Last Revised: Sep. 1, 2009


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Good Article on Social Security Benefits for Divorced People

This is a good article which outlines Social Security benefits for divorced people. The article refers to "divorced women", but it also applies to divorced men (especially if the woman had higher earnings).

Excerpt :

The law says a divorced woman, who was married to her ex-husband for a minimum of 10 years, is due essentially the same benefits as a woman who is currently married to her husband.


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