Ask Larry

Can I Receive Survivor Benefits On My Ex's Record If I'm Disabled?

Hi Larry, I am so confused about Social Security Benefits and have some questions that I hope you can answer or lead me in right direction. I was married for 30 1/2 years before my husband filed for divorce. I had only worked part-time through out our marriage raising family while he was active duty military. After he retired from the military, he landed a very lucrative job until he retired at age 64. I was only 57 at the time of our divorce. I became disabled at age 56 and currently receive 1,004 per month disability and a portion of ex's military pension. I am currently 59 and ex is 65 and has recently applied for his social security benefits. My question is if my ex spouse should die, am I still able to collect my Disability and collect Widows Social Security at the same time? The reason I ask is because his health is failing and if he should die, the portion of the Military Pension I currently receive will completely cease and he is not making any other provisions for me. I am so frightened because I could not survive on just my Disability alone.


Yes, you can potentially receive both disability benefits on your own account and survivor benefits on your ex-husband's record if he dies, but you won't receive full benefits on both records. In the event of his death, you would continue to receive your full disability benefit, plus the difference between his benefit amount and yours, although the latter amount may be reduced somewhat if he dies before you reach full retirement age. This reduction would only be temporary, however, and when you reach full retirement age you would be eligible for a total benefit roughly equal to the full amount he was receiving, assuming that's higher than your own disability benefit amount.

If your ex is still living when you reach age 62, you could also file for a reduced excess divorced spousal benefit, assuming that his full retirement age benefit amount (PIA) is more than twice the amount of your full disability benefit.

Best, Jerry

Aug 30 2016 - 10:45am
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