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If I was married for 9 years to a man that died 10 years later can I draw survivor benefits?

Vancouver, WA |

I was married for 9 years to a man that had drug issues so I divorced him in 1989. He died in 2000 can I draw any survivor benefits from him?

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Attorney answers 3


Are you saying you were divorced when he died? Not married? If so, then no, you are not entitled to survivor benefits.

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Assuming your question is in regard to Social Security survivor benefits, it is my understanding that survivor benefits are possible with marriages lasting 10 years or more. However there are stipulations even in that regard. Do you have children from the marriage? If so, that changes the rules. You may look on for more information and you should follow up with an attorney whose practice includes Social Security benefits for more specific information.

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You can contact representatives at the Social Security Administration office to discuss your specific situation at 1-800-772-1213. Based on the limited information that you provided, it appears that you may not meet all of the requirements for obtaining divorced spouse benefits from Social Security. I have attached a link which discusses the basic requirements. You should also consult with an attorney who practices in this area in the event that you have specific circumstances that may change the generally applicable rules.

The above response is commentary regarding a general legal question. It is not intended to be legal advice specific to the reader's individual situation nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between the author and any reader. You are encouraged to contact a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.