• Christopher Le

How to qualify for Social Security Spousal and Survivor Benefits?

How to Qualify for Spousal Benefits

Being married or divorced does have different requirements.


Married

You can qualify for spousal benefits if you meet the requirements below:

  1. Your spouse is already receiving retirement benefits.

  2. You have been married for at least one year.

  3. You are at least 62 years old, or you are caring for a child who is under age 16 or disabled.

Divorced

If you are divorced, you can still receive Social Security spousal benefits if you meet the requirements below:

  1. You were married for at least 10 years.

  2. You did not remarry.

  3. You are age 62 or older.

  4. Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

  5. The spousal benefit amount that you would receive would be more than what you would receive based on your own work record.

How to Qualify for Survivor Benefits

Survivor benefits differ from spousal benefits as survivor benefits are for those spouses who have lost their spouse or ex-spouse.

Widowed

If your spouse died, you could qualify for survivor benefits if:

  1. You were married to the deceased person for at least 9 months.

  2. You are at least 60 years old, unless you are disabled or caring for the deceased person’s child, who is under age 16 or disabled.

Divorced

If your ex-spouse died, you could qualify for survivor benefits, if:

  1. You had been married for 10 years or more before divorcing.

  2. You are at least 60 years old, or age 50 if you’re totally disabled or are caring for a child from the previous marriage who is under age 16 or disabled.

Keep in mind that remarrying while your ex spouse is still alive could cut off your SPOUSAL benefits, BUT remarriage will not affect your eligibility for SURVIVOR benefits, as long as you remarried at age 60 or later, or age 50 if you’re totally disabled.

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