What are Divorced Spouse benefits, and how do I become eligible to receive them?

You may be able to receive Divorced Spouse benefits based on your divorced spouse’s work record. You must have been formerly married for 10 years, divorced for at least two years, and be at least 62 years old. In addition, your former spouse must be at least 62 years old and eligible for retirement benefits, or receiving disability. You also must be unmarried. 

To receive divorced spouse benefits, you cannot be entitled to benefits on your own record that are 50% or more of what your former spouse’s full benefits are. For example, if you receive retirement benefits of $201 per month and your divorced spouse receives $400, you would not be eligible for benefits on your spouse’s record because $201 is more than 50% of $400. 

Even if your divorced spouse dies, you can still receive benefits if the above is true except for a few differences. You only have to be at least 60 years old, or 50 and disabled. You can still receive these benefits if you remarry after age 60. Furthermore, your benefits cannot be greater than your divorced spouse’s full benefits.