Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here


Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

When someone who was married more than once dies, who is eligible for their Social Security benefits?

Anyone who was married to a Social Security beneficiary can potentially receive survivor benefits on the death of that person. That includes divorced former spouses as well as the deceased's husband or wife at the time of death.

In most cases, a widow or widower must have been married to the deceased for a minimum of nine months to qualify for survivor benefits. For a divorced spouse, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years.

Eligible spouses and ex-spouses can receive up to 100 percent of the late beneficiary's monthly Social Security payment, if they have reached full retirement age, or FRA. For people claiming survivor benefits, FRA is 66 and 2 months for people born in 1957 and 66 and 4 months for people born in 1958 and rises incrementally to 67 for people born in 1962 and after

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership— $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

You can file for survivor benefits earlier — the minimum age is 60 in most cases — but your monthly benefit will be reduced by as much as 28.5 percent.

Keep in mind

A widow or widower and a divorced ex-spouse (or multiple ex-spouses) can draw survivor benefits on the same person's earnings record without affecting what the other receives.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?