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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37854
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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I was married to my first husband years. We divorced

Customer Question

I was married to my first husband for 31 years. We divorced & I remarried & divorced the second husband 3 years ago.
My first husband died last year & now I am told that I don't qualify for his death benefits.
Is this the law?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. And I have good news for you.
There may be some confusion regarding the difference between a lump sum death benefit ($255), and making a survivor claim based on your ex- husband's death.
You would not be entitled to the lump sum benefit, but you are entitled to a survivor benefit based on your ex-husband's earning history. Let me explain.
As a rule, if you remarry before the age of 60, or before the age 50 if you are disabled, you won't be able to receive SSDI benefits as a surviving ex-spouse. However, there is an exception if that subsequent marriage later ends due to divorce, death, or annulment BEFORE the death of your ex-spouse, in which case you are able to receive surviving ex-spouse benefits as though you never remarried.
As you say that your ex dies AFTER you were divorced from your last husband---meaning that you were unmarried at the time of his death---then you absolutely are eligible for a survivor benefit so long as you are at least 60 years old---or 50 if you are legally disabled.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.
I wish you and yours the best in 2015,