If you are divorced, you may qualify for Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record. To be eligible for benefits, your ex-spouse must have reached the age at which he or she is eligible to begin receiving benefits (though he or she does not necessarily need to be receiving them). To qualify, you need to:
have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
have been divorced two years or longer;
be at least 62 years old;
be unmarried; and
not be entitled to a higher Social Security benefit based on your own work history.
If your former spouse is deceased, you may still receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse (irrespective of the age he or she died), assuming that your ex-spouse was entitled to Social Security benefits, your marriage was at least 10 years, you are at least 60 years old and you are not entitled to a higher benefit amount based on your own work history. If you remarry before the age of 60, you will lose the ability to receive a survivor benefit from your deceased ex-spouse.
The maximum amount that you are eligible to receive is 50% of what your former spouse is due at full retirement age. To receive the maximum benefit, you will need to wait until you have reached your own full retirement age.⁹
Your benefits are unaffected should your former spouse elect to take Social Security before reaching full retirement age or if your ex-spouse starts a new family.