Can I Receive Disability Benefits On My First Wife's Income?

Mar 24 2018 - 6:52am

I was married for 17 years, remarried at 50 and separated at 60. My second wife and I have not yet divorced. My first wife is older than I and already drawing Social Security. My second wife is much younger than I am. Am I able to file disability on my first wife's income if separated from my second wife? If not, would I be able to if my second wife and I actually divorced? My social security based on me alone will only be about $450, I am also disabled and receiving SSI. I turn 62 in July.

Hi,

No, you can't receive disability benefits based on a living spouse's or ex-spouse's earnings history. Social Security law doesn't include any such benefit.

You could, however, potentially qualify for divorced spousal benefits as early as age 62, but only if you are unmarried (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.03/handbook-0311.html). Additionally, your ex-wife would need to be at least age 62 or drawing her benefits, and her full retirement age rate (PIA) would have to be more than twice as much as your own PIA. Furthermore, if you did receive divorced spousal benefits your SSI (Supplemental Security Income) would be reduced essentially dollar for dollar by the amount of any divorced spousal benefits that you receive.

Best, Jerry