Program Description

The Social Security Disabled Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits are a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits are paid to the disabled surviving divorced spouse of a worker who had earned enough Social Security credits.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be divorced from a deceased spouse and meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least age 50 but not yet age 60
  • Have been married at least 10 years before the date the divorce became final
  • Meet the disability related requirements
  • Be unmarried, unless the marriage can be disregarded
  • Not entitled to an equal or higher Social Security retirement benefit based on your own work.

Based on the information you gave about your age, your disability, your current marital status and length of marriage to your former spouse, you could get Social Security disabled surviving divorced spouse benefits if:

  • you are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record;
  • you meet the medical rules for disability benefits; and
  • your former spouse is deceased.

To see the listing of impairments that can qualify for disability, visit the "Adult Listing of Impairments" page. Even if your condition is not included in the listing, you still could get benefits.  To find out more about how SSA decides if you are disabled, visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review "Disability," Social Security Publication Number 05-10029.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivor’s benefits. For application information, please visit the How To Apply page

Program Contact Information

Would you like more information about disabled surviving divorced spouse's benefits?
Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review the publication "Survivors," Social Security Publication Number 05-10084 or review Chapter 4 of the Social Security Handbook.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
Visit SSA’s Publications Home page and review "Social Security: How You Earn Credits," Social Security Publication Number 05-10072.

Or for additional information on this and any SSA benefit, call:
1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)

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