How Will my Divorce or Remarriage Affect my Dependent or Survivor Social Security Benefits?

Dependent Benefits

Divorce- If you are divorced, you are still eligible for dependents benefits based on your former spouse’s record if the marriage lasted at least ten years, the divorced became final at least two years prior and both you and former spouse have reached age 62, regardless of whether your spouse has begun receiving benefits himself.  

Remarriage- Your former spouse’s remarriage has no effect on your ability to collect dependent benefits on his earning record.  However, your own remarriage will cause you to lose the ability to collect dependent benefits on your former spouse’s record.  You will then need to meet these same requirements to qualify for dependent benefits under your new spouse’s record, ie. ten year marriage, etc.  If however, you divorce again, you can collect dependent benefits on either of your former spouse’s earning records if you meet the same necessary requirements previously cited for each respective former spouse.

Survivor Benefits

Divorce- If you are divorced, you are still eligible for dependents benefits based on your former spouse’s record if the marriage lasted at least ten years.

Remarriage- A surviving spouse who remarries before age 60 loses survivor benefits through the deceased former spouse- however if she is again widowed or divorced at age 60 she regains her eligibility.  A surviving spouse who remarries after age 60 will not lose her survivor benefits.

Please keep in mind that divorce or remarriage has no effect on your ability to receive retirement benefits based on your own work record.