Can I Get Benefits On My Ex's Record If He Dies Outside The U.S.?

Jan 23 2018 - 9:34am

I was married to my husband for 11 years. I am 12 years older than him. When we separated in 2002, I discovered he was not an american citizen, but had come to the US on a student visa when he was 15, sponsored by his uncle. His parents came to the US when he was in college. After college he worked professional jobs until 2005 when went back to Fiji (court ordered.) My question to you, ...( The news from Fiji is..my X husband is dying of cancer.) Will I be able to file for a widows pension in the event that he passes, here in Sacramento? He is 56 now.
We filed taxes every year and I have all complete records. Currently I am struggling economically.
I appreciate any information you can share, as I'm sort of lost on this. Thanks very much

Hi,

Yes, it sounds like you could potentially be eligible for surviving divorced spousal benefits in the event of your ex's death, provided that he is insured for Social Security benefits (i.e. has at least 40 quarters of coverage) and you are not already receiving higher benefits on your own record.

The fact that your ex left the country or was deported would not affect your potential eligibility for benefits on his record provided that you are a U.S. citizen or legally admitted resident alien.

Best, Jerry