To qualify for divorced spouse benefits, the couple must have been married at least ten (10) years. Further, the divorced spouse must not remarry and be at least sixty-two (62) years old. The divorced spouse is eligible to receive half of that worker’s primary insurance amount. The primary insurance amount is the monthly benefit amount to which a worker is entitled. Like regular social security benefits, there are penalties if the divorced spouse begins to draw on the benefits before reaching their full retirement age.
Further, the divorced spouse is eligible to receive the benefits from the worker even if that worker has deferred receipt of their benefits as long as the divorce was final for at least (2) years or the divorced spouse has reached full retirement age. Additionally, the receipt of these benefits does not affect the family maximum benefit for any other derivative benefits which the worker’s family is eligible, such as spousal or children’s benefits.
A surviving divorced spouse may also be eligible for a mother or father’s benefit if they have custody of a worker’s child that is under sixteen (16) years of age or disabled. These benefits will be approximately 75% of the worker’s primary insurance amount.
If a divorced spouse has had multiple marriages that have lasted ten (10) years or more, the divorced spouse will be able to collect whichever worker’s benefit that will be the largest income to the divorced spouse. Marriages that occur after the divorced spouse reaches the age of sixty (60) do not qualify for a divorced spousal benefit.