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How Can I Receive My Ex-Husband's Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?

If you have never made a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits based on your former spouse’s work history, it could be very beneficial to you. Many divorced women that file such claims get a higher benefit payment -- especially if their ex-husband has passed away.



The claims process includes providing your ex-husband’s Social Security Number; if this information is available, his birthdate and birthplace, along with his parent’s full names must be supplied.



Here are the conditions you must meet to file such a claim, whether your ex-husband is living or dead:



If your ex-husband is living, you can receive his SSDI benefits if:




  1. Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer;

  2. You have not re-married;

  3. You are at least 62 years old;

  4. The benefits you are entitled to under your own Social Security coverage are less than the potential benefits from your ex-husband’s work life;

  5. And your ex-husband meets the eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits.



If your ex-husband has passed away, you may receive benefits if:




  1. You are 60 years old OR if yourself have become disabled by age 50, if you were married a minimum of 10 years, and and if your own benefits don’t exceed his amount;

  2. Or if you are the primary guardian of a child under 16 that is your natural born or legally adopted child, or if you are the primary caregiver to your disabled child (and he or she is entitled to their own disability benefits), you have no age requirement to meet;

    1. Under this condition, your benefits will continue until the child reaches the age of 16 or is no longer disabled, or whichever comes first.

    2. You can receive benefits under this scenario regardless if you were married 10 years or not.





Mother’s or Father’s Benefits



It doesn’t matter whether the spouse and a disabled worker stay married under this rule, provided the disabled worker can claim SSDI. If the divorced spouse cares for at least one child under the age of 16, or that child is disabled, that spouse can receive SSDI benefits. If the disabled child is over the age of 22, he or she would have to have become disabled before their 22nd birthday.


A very important consideration to bear in mind is, if you remarry or yourself become eligible for your own SSDI benefits, benefits that exceed what your ex-husband is getting, you’ll lose his



For more information about SSDI benefits of interest to women, visit the official site at www.socialsecurity.gov/women.