Am I eligible for child-in-care ex-spousal benefits if I was married for 9 years?

Published: July 20, 2023

Full question: Hi there. I have a very complicated question. My ex spouse and I were married for 9 years. Together we adopted our daughter, K. K is severely disabled. We shall call my ex J. After J and I divorced, I briefly married A. We are now also divorced. In the event that J passes away, I know that K (our daughter) will be able to receive disabled child benefits on J’s record. Will I be able to receive benefits as I am caring for our disabled child (disabled before 22) that we legally adopted together, despite our marriage only lasting 9 years and my remarriage (albeit brief)?

Thank you to our very astute reader who caught an error in our past response to this question. Below is the correct response.

Hi there,

The 10-year marriage duration rule does not apply to a surviving mother’s/father’s benefit who is caring for the deceased’s child, including a Disabled Adult Child who became disabled prior to age 22.

As shown in the POMS 00208.010 Surviving Divorced Mother/Father…

1. Surviving divorced mother/father

A surviving divorced mother/father is a deceased NH’s surviving divorced spouse who is finally divorced and has in-care an entitled child of the NH. For additional requirements for a surviving divorced mother/father, see RS 00208.010B….

B. Policy Requirements For Surviving Divorced Mother/Father Benefits… NOTE: There is no 10-year marriage duration requirement for entitlement to surviving divorced mother’s/father’s benefits.

All the best,

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