If you’re currently unmarried, but a previous marriage lasted at least 10 years, you could qualify for spousal benefits based on your ex’s work record. The amount can be up to 50% of the worker’s benefit at his or her full retirement age. If you remarry, however, the divorced spouse benefit stops. You must be at least 62 to get spousal benefits.

If your ex has died and the marriage lasted at least 10 years, you could qualify for survivor benefits of up to 100% of your ex’s benefit. You can remarry at 60 or older (or 50 and older if disabled) and still receive divorced survivor benefits. Survivor and divorced survivor benefits can begin at age 60, or at age 50 if the survivor is disabled, or at any age if you’re caring for your ex’s child who is under 16 or disabled (and in that case, the 10-year marriage requirement is waived). People receiving survivor benefits can switch to their own benefit later if that’s larger, and vice versa.

Your ex must be at least 62 for you to receive a divorced spousal benefit, but does not need to be receiving his or her own benefit. (That’s different from regular spousal benefits, which typically require the primary worker to apply before the spouse can receive anything.) Survivor benefits are based on what your ex was receiving or would have received at full retirement age. (If your ex delayed starting benefits past full retirement age, the survivor benefit is increased by those delayed retirement credits.) If you start benefits before your own full retirement age, however, the amount you get will be reduced.

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