Q:  I am a 54-year-old woman, and I am disabled.  I haven’t worked enough during the past 10 years to be insured for Social Security disability benefits, but I am receiving Supplemental Security Income payments.  I was married to my former husband for over 30 years and have been divorced for the past 4 years.  He is the same age as me.  Can I qualify for benefits on his record now or do I have to wait until he either becomes disabled or reaches age 62?

A:  You will have to wait.  Under the Social Security Act, no spousal benefit can be paid before age 62, even when the spouse is disabled.

You can qualify for divorced spouse’s benefits as early as age 62, whether or not your former husband is still in the work force.  However, he must be eligible for benefits by either reaching age 62 himself or by qualifying for Social Security disability insurance benefits.

Should your husband predecease you, you would immediately be eligible for a surviving divorced spouse’s benefit.  A disabled widow is eligible for a survivor’s benefit as early as age 50.