Shouldn't I Still Qualify For Divorced Spousal Benefits As Long As I'm Not Married To A U.S. Citizen?

Nov 2 2018 - 9:31am

Hello Larry.
My question is about divorced spousal benefits.
One of the prerequisite is that I am not suppose to be married now, but it does not indicates as what ( American or foreign citizen marriage? ) in order to apply for divorced spousal benefits.
Just like I can not apply for this benefit, if my previous spouse was a foreign national and not an US citizen? Then
Now the question arrives, why does it matter to US laws and regulations when I am now married to a foreign national and living in a foreign soil. She is not a US citizen nor Green card holder and is a tax payer of a foreign country and not US!?
I can only see this law applicable, if now I am married to another American citizen?
Thank you for your time and have a nice day Larry.


As the name implies, Social Security is a social program designed to provide income to people who've lost their source of support due to death, disability or old age. Benefits for eligible dependents (e.g. spouse, divorced spouse, child) of a worker are intended to replace income lost due to the death, retirement or disability of the worker. The presumption is that eligible dependents would normally require the worker's support, which of course isn't always the case. Nevertheless, that's the basic principle behind the Social Security law and regulations.

When a divorced spouse remarries, the presumption of dependency shifts from the former spouse to the new spouse. Therefore, based on the Social Security law, a divorced spouse cannot qualify for benefits on the record of a former spouse if they've remarried, unless they marry someone who is also drawing U.S. Social Security benefits as a dependent.

Bottom line, unless your new spouse is drawing a U.S. Social Security dependent's benefit, you couldn't qualify for divorced spousal benefits if your ex is still living. Your spouse's nationality and the country in which you were married is immaterial as far as the Social Security law is concerned. However, if your ex is deceased, you could potentially qualify for divorced survivor benefits if your remarriage occurred after you reached age 60.

Best, Jerry