Can a Divorced Spouse Claim Disability Benefits?

Spouses married for a year or more, divorced spouses who were married 10 years or more, and surviving spouses may be entitled to disability benefits based on the earnings of the disabled spouse, says Nolo. The divorced spouse's benefits end upon remarriage or eligibility to receive higher benefits.

An ex-spouse who was married at least 10 years to a disabled worker, who received disability benefits, can receive benefits if the worker filed a claim for disability, and the divorced spouse is 62 years old or older, states Nolo. If the worker has not filed a claim for benefits, but both spouses are 62 years old or older and have been divorced for two years, the divorced spouse may be eligible to receive benefits. If the divorced spouse is eligible for the mother's or father's benefit (benefits if the spouse cares for a the disabled worker's child who is under age 16 or is disabled), the 10-year rule does not apply.

If the disabled spouse dies, the divorced spouse can receive disability if the surviving divorced spouse is 60 years old or older, is disabled and between 50 and 60 years old, or is entitled to mother's or father's benefits, according to Nolo.