Social Security Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits

Program Description

The Social Security Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits are a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These are benefits paid to the divorced spouse of a deceased worker who had earned enough work credits.

General Program Requirements

To qualify for this benefit program, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be at least age 60
  • Be divorced from the deceased worker
  • Have been married to the deceased worker for at least 10 years
  • Not be entitled to an equal or higher Social Security benefit on your own work record
  • Be unmarried (unless an exception applies).


Based on the information you gave about your age, your current marital status and length of marriage to your deceased spouse, you could get Social Security Surviving divorced spouse benefits beginning at age 60 if:

  • you do not remarry before age 60;
  • your former spouse had enough work credits; and
  • you are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record then.

PLEASE NOTE: If you get (or will get) a pension based on work for an employer who did not withhold Social Security taxes, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, your Social Security benefits may be reduced. Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review A Pension from Work Not Covered by Social Security, Social Security Publication Number 05-10045 and Government Pension Offset, Social Security Publication Number 05-10007.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivor’s benefits. For application information, please visit the How To Apply page.

Program Contact Information

Would you like more information about surviving divorced spouse's benefits?
Visit SSA's Publications Home Page and review the publication "Survivors," Social Security Publication Number 05-10084 or review Chapter 4 of the Social Security Handbook.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
Visit SSA's Publications Home page and review "Social Security: How You Earn Credits," Social Security Publication Number 05-10072.

Or for additional information on this and any SSA benefit, call:
1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)