When Can I Start Drawing As An Ex-Spouse If I'm Disabled?

Feb 25 2020 - 7:50am

I am 58 and my husband is 66. He is thinking about retiring within the next two years, and we are divorcing within the next year. I am disabled and have received SSDI for the past 12 years. From what I understand, I can draw off of my spouse's retirement benefits as a survivor at an earlier age if I am disabled, but when can I start drawing off of his benefits as an ex spouse if I am disabled? My current SSDI benefits are less than $700 a month because I spent more of my life raising children and tending to the household instead of working outside of the home.


You must be at least age 62 in order to potential qualify for either spousal or divorced spousal benefits on the record of a living spouse or ex-spouse, regardless of whether or not you're disabled. And, if you start drawing spousal or divorced spousal benefits prior to your full retirement age (FRA) your benefit rate will be reduced for age even if you are disabled.

Your unreduced divorced spousal rate would be calculated by subtracting your primary insurance amount (PIA), which is equal to the full amount of your SSDI benefit, from 50% of your ex-spouse's PIA. If you file at FRA, you would receive that full excess amount in addition to your own benefit amount. However, if you claim divorced spousal benefits prior to FRA your excess divorced spousal rate will be reduced for age.

Even if you file for reduced spousal or divorced spousal benefits prior to FRA, though, it wouldn't necessarily cause you to receive a reduced survivor rate if your husband dies before you. If you become entitled to survivor benefits at FRA or later, you would be eligible for the higher of your husband's full benefit rate or your own benefit rate.

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Best, Jerry