Can I Draw Survivor Benefits On My First Husband's Record If We Were Married For 5 Years?

Nov 7 2017 - 7:02am

Hello! :)
I will be 60 in January of 2018. My first husband passed away in 2014, I just recently learned from his sister. I would never have thought of this til I read your book but I just want to clarify that I understand correctly. In the book you said that you only needed to be married 9 months to collect widows/survivors benefits. He and I both remarried, but I haven't been married in many years now. Is it possible for me to claim survivors/widows benefits under his account? We were married 5 years. When he passed in 2014, he had just reached 60, and I know wasn't drawing anything from SS. Thank you for all your help and advice!

Hi,

If you were divorced from your first husband at the time of his death and you were married to him for fewer than 10 years, then no you couldn't draw benefits from his record unless you have an entitled child of his in your care (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0403.html).

The reference in the book that says you only need to be married for 9 months to qualify for widow(er)'s benefits applies to widow(er)'s benefits only. In other words, the 9 month duration of marriage requirement only applies if the widow(er) was still married to their deceased spouse at the time of death (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0401.html).

Best, Jerry