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Taking Care of Mom and Dad: Divorce and Benefits

If your parents are divorced, certain rules apply. Even if one or both has remarried, they may qualify for benefits on one another's record if they are 62 or older. In some situations, one of your parents may get benefits when the other is not receiving them yet. And, if your father will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your mom's Social Security benefit may be affected. In order for your mom to qualify under your father's record, or vice versa, your mom must:

  • have been married to your for dad for at least 10 years;
  • be at least 62 years old;
  • be unmarried; and
  • not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on her own Social Security record, or on someone else's Social Security record.

If your mom continues to work while receiving benefits, the same earnings limits apply to her as apply to your dad. She should use the earning tests calculator to see how her earnings would affect her benefit payments.

The amount of benefits your mom gets has no effect on the amount of benefits your father or, if remarried, his current wife receives.

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