If you’re considering applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it’s natural to have questions about the process. You may think you won’t qualify for them, if you don’t have much of a work history of your own. But there are circumstances where you can use the history of your former spouse as the basis for your own application.
When does it become an option?
For someone who is disabled, they may consider applying for SSD or SSI benefits, or both. Generally speaking, SSD is available to those who have worked throughout their lives and paid into social security during that time. SSI, however, is available to lower income individuals who may not have a significant work history.
If you’re leaning toward SSI, because of your own work history, you have another option if you were previously married. Under the right circumstances, you can use the work history of your ex-spouse in lieu of your own. This allows you to qualify for SSD benefits, even if you wouldn’t otherwise.
What are the requirements?
Most of the time, you must be at least 62 years old to receive SSD benefits based on your former spouse’s work history. There are exceptions if you’re younger, but the rules allowing it are much more stringent. Once you’re 62, if you were married for at least 10 years and you are now unmarried, SSD becomes much easier to get.
Your ex-spouse must be entitled to benefits on their own. They don’t have to be drawing them yet, but they do need to be eligible. If you have any work history of your own, the benefit you would get based upon that history must be less than that you would get based upon your ex-spouse’s work history.
Applying for SSD benefits can be a complicated affair, especially when using the work history of your ex-spouse. Seek the assistance of an experienced professional – they can help to ensure the process goes smoothly.