Q:

What benefits does a divorced spouse qualify for?

A:

Quick Answer

A divorced spouse may qualify for Social Security retirement benefits and survivor benefits based on the former spouse's record if the marriage lasted at least 10 years, according to the Social Security Administration. To receive retirement benefits on an ex-spouse's record, the divorced spouse must be over 62 and unmarried.

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Full Answer

The amount a divorced spouse that begins receiving benefits at full retirement age receives equals one-half of the ex-spouse's full retirement amount or disability benefit, explains the SSA. If the divorced spouse is eligible for benefits based on his-or-her own work history, that benefit is paid first. Spouses who remarry are usually not eligible to receive benefits from the ex-spouse's account. Benefits paid to a divorced spouse do not reduce the benefits received by the ex-spouse or that person's current spouse.

Divorced spouses who are the ex-spouse of a worker who dies can receive the same survivor benefits as a widow or widower if the marriage lasted at least 10 years, states the SSA. Benefits paid to the divorced spouse do not decrease the amount of benefits that are paid to any other surviving beneficiary. Divorced spouses can apply for Social Security benefits based on a former spouse's earnings through the SSA secure online application site.

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