What are the divorced eligibility requirements for collecting Social Security benefits? If you are divorced, you still may be eligible to receive benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record (and your ex-spouse may be eligible to receive benefits based on your record too). You may be eligible to collect ex-spousal benefits if you were married for more than 10 years, you are currently single, and you are at least age 62.
Does my ex-spouse need to be collecting their retirement benefits in order for me to collect benefits based on his/her record? It depends. If you have been divorced for more than 2 years, you are considered “independently entitled” and therefore your ex-spouse does not need to be collecting retirement benefits in order for you to receive ex-spousal benefits based on his/her record. If you have been divorced for less than 2 years, you must wait until your ex-spouse is collecting their retirement benefits in order for you to collect a spousal benefit based on his/her record.
Will my ex-spouse know that I am receiving benefits based on his/her record? It is common for individuals to be completely unaware that their ex-spouse is collecting benefits based on their record. Ex-spousal benefits will not have an impact on the benefits of the one whose record they are being paid from.
What documents will I need to apply for ex-spousal benefits? There are several documents you may need and these include your birth certificate, proof of citizenship, W-2, marriage certificate, and divorce decree.
Learn more about applying for ex-spousal benefits.