TN 13 (02-12)

RS 00208.010 Surviving Divorced Mother/Father

A. Definitions

1. Surviving divorced mother/father

A surviving divorced mother/father is a deceased NH's surviving divorced spouse who is finally divorced and has in-care an entitled child of the NH. For additional requirements for a surviving divorced mother/father, see RS 00208.010B.

2. Final divorce

A final divorce is one that irrevocably terminated the marriage relationship.

Apply State law to determine whether a divorce is final, limited, or preliminary. (For State laws for the effective date of dissolution, see GN 00305.165.)

If, at the NH's death, the divorce was not effective so as finally to dissolve the marriage, the claimant may be able to qualify for mother's/father's insurance benefits as the NH's widow(er) rather than as a surviving divorced mother/father.

3. Other divorces

The following incomplete divorce decrees do not dissolve a marriage:

  • limited divorce or divorces from bed and board;

  • preliminary (i.e., interlocutory or decree nisi).

4. Annulment

An annulment nullifies a marriage. It differs conceptually from a divorce in that a divorce terminates a legal status, whereas an annulment establishes that a marital status never existed.

EXAMPLE: A claimant whose marriage to the NH ended by an annulment decree is not entitled to mother's/father's insurance benefits. He or she is not the NH's widow(er) since the annulment presupposes an imperfect marriage. Thus, the claimant cannot be the NH's divorced spouse since he or she was never the NH's legal spouse. For further instructions, see GN 00305.120.

B. Policy requirements for surviving divorced mother/father benefits

In addition to meeting the requirements in section RS 00208.001C, the claimant, must:

  • be finally divorced from the NH who died fully or currently insured.

  • have in-care his or her natural or legally adopted child who is entitled to child's benefits on the NH's E/R.

NOTE: There is no 10-year marriage duration requirement for entitlement to surviving divorced mother's/father's benefits.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300208010
RS 00208.010 - Surviving Divorced Mother/Father - 08/01/2013
Batch run: 08/01/2013
Rev:08/01/2013