Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Criteria for Social Security Disability Insurance

Question:  Can my wife (soon to be ex-wife) continue to receive SSD (Social Security Disability benefits) after we are divorced? Answer:  Yes, assuming certain criteria are met. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) provides a benefit to individuals who are considered (i) disabled and (ii) have paid enough money into the Social Security system. Dependent family members of SSD beneficiaries, such as spouses or children, may also receive dependent Social Security benefits. Even after a divorce, an ex-spouse may still be entitled to collect SSD benefits. Keep in mind that for SSD, there is no minimum threshold earnings record necessary to support an ex-spouse’s benefits. However, these conditions must be met:

  1. The ex-spouse is at least 62 years old.
  2. The spouses were married for over 10 years.
  3. The ex-spouse is not eligible to collect a larger benefit based on a personal earnings record or the earnings record of someone else.
  4. The ex-spouse has not remarried.

Comment: The rules are more complicated if the disabled spouse does not currently receive SSD benefits at the time of divorce. In certain circumstances however the disabled spouse can still file a claim for SSD benefits.   If you have any questions or would like more information please contact Steve Shane at: | 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Head Shot for webSteve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTube, and LinkedIn. WASHINGTON | BALTIMORE | FREDERICK | PHILADELPHIA | WILMINGTON | VIRGINIA