SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home305. When is a spouse entitled to spouse's insurance benefits on the worker's Social Security record?

As the spouse of an insured worker, you are entitled to spouse's insurance benefits if you meet the conditions below:

  1. The worker is entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits;

  2. You have filed an application for spouse's benefits;

  3. You are not entitled to a retirement or disability insurance benefit based on a primary insurance amount which equals or exceeds one-half the worker's primary insurance amount;

  4. You either:

    1. Are age 62 or over; or

    2. Have in care (as defined in §312) a child under age 16 or disabled who is entitled to benefits on the worker's Social Security record; and

  5. You meet one of the following conditions:

    1. You have been married to the worker for at least one continuous year just before he or she filed the application for benefits;

    2. You are the mother or father of the worker's biological son or daughter (as defined in §324). This requirement is met if a live child was born to you and the worker. The child need not be living when you apply for benefits;

    3. You were entitled or “potentially” entitled to spouse's (including deemed or divorced spouse's), widow(er)'s (including deemed widow(er)'s or surviving divorced spouse's), parent's, or childhood disability benefits based on the record of a fully insured individual under the Social Security Act in the month before the month you married the worker. You are “potentially entitled” if you meet all the requirements for entitlement other than filing of an application, and (in the case of spouse's, widow(er)'s, or parent's benefits) attaining the required age; or

    4. You were entitled or potentially entitled to a widow(er)'s, parent's, or child's (age 18 or over) annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act in the month before the month you married the worker.

Last Revised: Sep. 1, 2009