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Social Security Question:
Can an alien living outside the US remarried to the same US citizen rely on 1st marriage of 7 years to claim survivor benefits?

I have been living outside the US since being divorced from my first and only wife a US citizen after 7 years of marriage some 30 years ago. We remarried 3 years ago in Jamaica, and she passed away last year while in the process of filing immigration papers for me to migrate back to the US.
As a Non Citizen Alien living outside the USA who was married (for the 2nd time) to the same US Citizen, can I apply for Social Security survivor benefits on her earnings record to be paid to me in my own country, using the period of our first marriage (7 years) to fulfill the requirement for a 5 year residency in a spousal relationship with her in the USA in order to be paid survivor benefits while still living outside the US.
We had 2 sons earlier on, and my country has a Social Insurance Program reciprocal agreement with the USA.

Per the following policy, I suggest that you file the application and get a formal determination from Social Security.  I believe the policy states that the 5-year residency could be met based on the first marriage.


RS 02610.030 5 Year Residency Requirements for Spouses, Natural Child, Adopted Child, and a Parent

A. Spousal Relationships

Spousal relationships include spouses, widows/widowers, divorced spouses, surviving divorced spouses, or surviving divorced mothers or fathers.

1. When the Residency Requirement is Met

An alien entitled to benefits as a spouse, widow/widower, divorced spouse, surviving divorced spouse, or surviving divorced mother or father must meet the following requirement:
The alien must have resided in the U.S. for 5 or more years, and
The alien must have been in a spousal relationship with the person on whose earnings record the entitlement is based for 5 or more years.

2. Period of Residency

The 5 year period of residence:
Does not have to be continuous;
Nor does the same spousal relationship need to have existed for the entire period. An alien could have one, two or more of the spousal relationships to the NH during the U.S. residence. For example, the period as the spouse of the NH and a period as the widow/widower of the NH can be combined for the 5 year relationship.

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Darlene Oldendick


Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.


Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years


33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

Awards and Honors
Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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