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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

When Evidence of Termination of Prior Marriage is Required

1718. When Evidence of Termination of Prior Marriage is Required

1718.1 When do you need to provide evidence that your prior marriage ended?

You may be required to provide evidence that your marriage ended if your right to benefits depends on:

  1. The validity of a later marriage; or

  2. The termination of a prior marriage.

If you are claiming benefits as a divorced spouse (see §311), you must establish that the marriage lasted for 10 years before the divorce became effective.

1718.2 How does a marriage end?

A valid ceremonial or common-law marriage ends only by death, divorce, or annulment.

Last Revised: Feb. 4, 2008

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Do I really have to report a previous marriage?

February 7, 2012 by Guest

I was married in 1966 and divorced 8-years later in 1974. I remarried in 1975 and am still in that marriage.

Since the marriage lasted less than 10-years and was over 40-years ago Do I really have to report this when I apply for SS? I have no current information on former spouse.

Reporting prior marriage when applying for Social Security

February 7, 2012 by David Luhman

My reading of the reporting requirement is that you need not report the first marriage, but I'd call and confirm this with Social Security.

name change

March 6, 2013 by Guest

I'm not sure that i ever changed my name when i got married 17 years ago.
I am now divorced, is there a way to verify what name is on my SS card prior to trying to get a new one?

Name on record at Social Security Administration

March 6, 2013 by David Luhman

You may want to review your online Social Security Statement. This statement will have your name, address, and a history of your earnings. You can also use the statement to forecast what your Social Security benefits will be.


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