If you are divorced, your ex-spouse can receive benefits based on your record (even if you have remarried) if:

  • Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;

  • Your ex-spouse is unmarried;

  • Your ex-spouse is age 62 or older;

  • The benefit that your ex-spouse is entitled to receive based on his or her own work is less than the benefit he or she would receive based on your work; and

  • You are entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

If you have not applied for retirement benefits, but can qualify for them, your ex-spouse can receive benefits on your record if you have been divorced for at least two years.

If your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on his or her own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your record is higher, he or she will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.

Note:  If your ex-spouse was born before January 2, 1954 and has already reached full retirement age, he or she can choose to receive only the divorced spouse’s benefit and delay receiving his or her retirement benefit until a later date. If your ex-spouse’s birthday is January 2, 1954 or later, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age no longer exists.  If your ex-spouse files for one benefit, he or she will be effectively filing for all retirement or spousal benefits.

If your ex-spouse continues to work while receiving benefits, the same earnings limits apply to him or her as apply to you. If he or she is eligible for benefits this year and is also working, you can use our earnings test calculator to see how those earnings would affect those benefit payments.

If your ex-spouse will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government work, his or her Social Security benefit on your record may be affected.

Note: The amount of benefits your divorced spouse gets has no effect on the amount of benefits you or your current spouse may receive.

If you need information about collecting benefits on your divorced spouse's record, please read If You Are Divorced.

Click on the items below for a description of benefits that may be paid to your: