Program Description

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

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 if your former spouse had enough work credits and if you are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record.

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 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.

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.

Contact Information

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

Benefit Categories
Family Social Security
Insurance Social Security
Spouse & Widow(er) Social Security