How Long Must You Be Married To Get Spousal Benefits?

Mar 19 2017 - 7:15am

I know that you must be married nine months in Pennsylvania before you are entitled to your spouse's Social Security. My question: is "nine months" considered to be nine 4-week periods from the date of marriage, or is it the date of the marriage, nine months later? For example, I was married on July 21, 2016. Nine four-week periods later is March 30, 2017. In the second scenario, it would be April 21.

It seems like a silly question, but as you can see, in the first case I'd be eligible about three weeks sooner.

Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate your work, and will be purchasing your program as soon as I'm eligible to tap into my husband's SS.


Just to clarify, you must generally be married for at least 12 months in order to qualify for spousal benefits on the record of a living spouse. The 9 month requirement applies to widow(er)'s benefits.

In order for the 9 month duration requirement to be met for widow(er) eligibility, the marriage must last a full 9 months. In other words, if a worker dies on 11/15/2017 for example, he or she must have married no later than 2/15/2017 in order for the widow(er) to qualify for benefits.

In the case of the 12 month requirement for spouse's benefits, eligibility can begin effective with the month in which the first anniversary occurs. For example, assuming that all of the other requirements are met, a person who married on 4/30/2016 can become entitled to spousal benefits effective with April 2017.

Best, Jerry