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Navigating SSDI claims related to an ex-spouse

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

Life’s uncertainties and complications often leave many wondering about the benefits and rights they might be able to access, especially after significant life events like divorce.

One question you might have is whether you can claim SSDI benefits based on an ex-spouse’s record. The Social Security system does have provisions for this, but specific conditions apply.

Duration of the marriage

For you to qualify for SSDI benefits based on an ex-spouse’s record, your marriage must have lasted at least 10 years. If your marriage did not reach this decade-long milestone, you would not be eligible to claim benefits on their record.

Current marital status

Your current marital status plays a role in your eligibility. If you have remarried, you cannot collect benefits on your former spouse’s record unless your subsequent marriage ends by death, divorce or annulment.

Age factor

You must be at least 62 years old to claim SSDI benefits based on an ex-spouse’s record. If you qualify for benefits on your own record, the system will pay that amount first. However, if the ex-spouse’s benefit is higher, you will get an additional amount on their record to equal that higher amount.

Ex-spouse’s qualification

Your ex-spouse must be eligible for SSDI benefits. If they qualify and have started receiving SSDI benefits, you can also claim, provided you meet other criteria.

Dependency on the ex-spouse’s record

It is important to note that if you are claiming SSDI benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, it does not affect or reduce their benefits or those of their current spouse if they have one. The benefits you receive are independent and do not rely on their claim status.


In some cases, if you have a disability, you can claim benefits as early as age 50. This is true if the disability started before or within seven years of the ex-spouse’s death. It provides added relief for those who cannot work due to a disability and need financial assistance.

The Social Security Administration reported that in 2020, over 7 million people received SSDI, and many of those people got it from an ex-spouse’s record. If you hope to claim benefits through your ex-spouse, it is important to understand your rights and the criteria for applying.