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How do I apply for SSDI using my ex-husband's work credits? Would he know I used them or have a say?

Phoenix, AZ |
Filed under: Social security

I applied for SSDI and was denied because of no work credits. I was not aware that I could use my ex-husband's work credits. How do I apply using them, and would that affect his benefits? Can I re-apply? We don't have a good relationship. Can he stop me from using his credits? I also need to apply for SSI and would like to have an experienced attorney help me, as I'm too ill to take care of this on my own. Thank you very much for your help.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Unfortunately, you have been misinformed about using your ex-husband's work credits. There are no disability benefits payable to you on an ex-spouse's work record unless the ex-spouse is deceased. If the worker is deceased, the surviving divorced spouse can apply as early as age 50 for disability benefits on the deceased ex-spouse's record . But, a number of other requirements must be met, in addition to being found disabled.

    A surviving divorced spouse can apply for retirement benefits as early as age 60, subject to other requirements including length of marriage (must have lasted 10 years) and the retirement earnings test. Remarriage, depending on age at remarriage, can affect eligibility.

    As to getting benefits on a living ex-spouse, SSA.gov tells workers:
    "If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record.

    (If your spouse will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, his or her Social Security benefit on your record may be affected.)

    To qualify on your record, your ex-spouse must:
    •have been married to you for at least 10 years;
    •be at least 62 years old;
    •be unmarried; and
    •not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on his or her own Social Security record, or on someone else's Social Security record.

    Note: The amount of benefits payable to your divorced spouse has no effect on the amount of benefits you or your current spouse may receive."

    Benefits paid before Full Retirement Age (currently age 66) are subject to being reduced for age.

    This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship. This communication offers general information based on the limited facts set out in the question, and does not constitute the giving of legal advice. For specific legal advice, consult an attorney in your state who is knowledgeable in this area of law.


  2. As you can see from Ms. Hamilton's answer there are a huge number of factors which affect the answer to your question. You should contact an attorney to evaluate your situation.

    Actual legal advice can only be provided by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law regarding your question. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

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