SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home322. When do spouse's and divorced spouse's insurance benefits end?

Spouse's or divorced spouse's insurance benefits end when any of the conditions below are met:

  1. The spouse dies;

  2. The worker dies (in this case the spouse may be entitled to widow(er)'s, mother's, or father's benefits);

  3. The worker's entitlement to disability insurance benefits ends and he or she is not entitled to retirement insurance benefits (unless the divorce spouse meets the requirements for an independently entitled divorced spouse, as explained in §311);

  4. The spouse is under age 62 and there no longer is a child of the worker under age 16 or disabled who is entitled to child's insurance benefits;

  5. The spouse becomes entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits and his or her primary insurance amount is at least one-half of the worker's primary insurance amount;

  6. The spouse and the worker are divorced, unless:

    1. The spouse had already turned 62 when the divorce became final; and

    2. The spouse and the worker had been married for at least 10 years before the date the divorce became final;

  7. The spouse qualified for benefits only under the conditions explained in §306, and one of the following events occurs:

    1. The spouse enters into a valid marriage with someone other than the worker;

    2. Prior to January 1991, monthly benefits are awarded on the same earnings record to another person who qualifies as the legal spouse of the worker under the conditions in § 306; or

    3. Prior to January 1991, the spouse obtains a divorce from the worker;

  8. The spouse qualified for benefits only under the conditions explained in § 306 and later learns that the marriage is invalid;

  9. The divorced spouse marries someone of the opposite gender, other than the worker. However, the divorced spouse's benefit will not be ended by marrying an individual entitled to divorced spouse's, widow(er)'s, mother's, father's, or parent's monthly benefits, or to an individual age 18 or over who is entitled to childhood disability benefits; or

  10. For an independently entitled divorced spouse, the worker is no longer fully insured or he or she marries the worker.

A spouse is not entitled to spouse's insurance benefits for the month in which any one of the above events occurs.

Last Revised: Mar. 12, 2009