Can my Ex-wife get my Social Security Disability?

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits may be available to individuals who suffer from a long-term illness or injury that prevents them from engaging in a substantial gainful activity (SGA). Normally, this means that the affected individual is unable to work at any job or in any capacity. Proving eligibility for these benefits can oftentimes prove difficult, and individuals often need to appeal their disability claim one or more times before they ultimately receive benefits.

It is also important to keep in mind that ex-spouses are entitled to receive Social Security disability benefits and/or retirement benefits under some circumstances. However, there are certain requirements that come into play.

If you are interested in learning more about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, you should speak with a knowledgeable Orange County disability attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can address all of your legal questions and can help you determine if you are eligible to pursue and obtain these SSDI benefits.

SSDI Benefits upon Divorce

Many divorced individuals do not ask the SSA whether they are eligible to recover benefits based upon their ex-spouse’s work. In some situations, you can recover  higher SSDI benefits based upon the work of your ex-spouse. This is especially true if the ex-spouse is deceased. When you apply for these benefits, you will need to provide the SSA with your spouse’s Social Security number. If you do not have that information readily available, you will need to supply the names of your spouse’s parents, your spouse’s place of birth, and the date of birth.

In the event your ex-spouse is still alive, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits based upon his or her work if the following are true:

  • You are 62 or older.
  • Your marriage lasted for a period of at least ten years.
  • You are unmarried
  • Your ex is entitled to recover Social Security disability benefits or Social Security retirement benefits.
  • The benefits that you are eligible to receive based upon the work of your ex-spouse are greater than the benefits you would ordinarily receive based upon your own work history.

In the event your ex-spouse did not apply for benefits, but he or she is at least 62 years of age and qualifies for them, you could receive SSDI benefits based upon the work record of the ex if you’ve been divorced for a minimum of two years. There are separate requirements that apply in the event your ex-spouse has passed away.

A knowledgeable OC disability attorney will be able to determine if you are eligible for SSDI benefits individually or based on the work of your ex-spouse. In either case, your attorney could help you file a claim and work to get you the benefits that you deserve. If the insurance company denies your claim for benefits, your lawyer could file an appeal with the insurance company, and if necessary, pursue the matter in federal court once all administrative appeals are exhausted.