Do the young spouse (under age 62) child-in-care benefits apply to ex-spouses just as they do for spouses?

Published: February 25, 2021

Full question: The spousal benefits to collect for child-in-care benefits applies only to the spouse or the ex-spouse as well? I had a situation where my ex-husband retired and my children got Dependent benefits until they finished high school around 18/19 years old. I never got any benefit. My ex was collecting my children benefits as he told SS that the kids live with him. We found out later on and were able to recover some of their benefits. I am not sure if I was supposed to get any benefits. My children were 14 & 15 years old when he retired. Thanks


The Social Security rules that apply to this situation can be very confusing and include rules on dependent children and ex-spousal benefits.

First of all, children are eligible for Social Security dependent benefits when a parent is collecting retirement benefits. The children must be under the age of 18, or if still in high school, until they graduate or two months after turning age 19, whichever comes first.

Next, as a divorced spouse, you may be entitled to ex-spousal benefits for yourself if you meet all the criteria – married ten or more years, currently single, and age 62 or older.

Although a young spouse under 62 who is caring for a child under age 16 is normally entitled to collect spousal child-in-care benefits when his/her spouse claims Social Security, this provision does not apply to divorced spouses.

Young ex-spouses are not eligible for child-in-care benefits, even if they are caring for a minor child of the retired ex-spouse.

All the best,

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