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Understanding Social Security Rights for Stay-At-Home Moms

Last updated: October 10, 2023

Understanding the various ways in which the Social Security system in the United States functions can be a complicated process. For stay-at-home moms, this can become even more challenging as they try to figure out whether they're eligible for Social Security benefits.

Understanding Social Security

Eligibility Criteria for Social Security

Social Security is a federal program in the U.S. providing benefits for retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits. Typically, to be eligible for these benefits, you would need to work in jobs covered by Social Security and earn enough "credits".

The Case for Stay-at-home Moms

Stay-at-home moms, however, might not have the traditional employment history required to claim these benefits, leading many to question whether they are still eligible for Social Security benefits.

Social Security Benefits for Stay-at-home Moms

Spousal Benefits

How Spousal Benefits Work

Spousal benefits kick in at any age if the spouse is caring for the recipient's child who is also receiving benefits. In other circumstances, the spouse must be at least 62 to receive these benefits. These provisions provide a safety net, ensuring stay-at-home moms aren't financially disadvantaged due to their choice to focus on family care.

Survivors Benefits

Qualification for Survivors Benefits

Survivor's benefits can be claimed as early as age 60 or 50 if the survivor is disabled and at any age if they're caring for a child under 16 or disabled receiving Social Security benefits. These benefits offer substantial financial security and support during an emotionally challenging time, ensuring that stay-at-home moms can meet their economic obligations even in the wake of a spouse's death

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Divorce and Social Security

The 10-Year Rule

This provision is often called the '10-Year Rule', and it's crucial in protecting the financial interests of stay-at-home moms post-divorce. Even if the ex-spouse remarries, it does not affect the divorced spouse's eligibility to claim these benefits, providing economic stability in potentially challenging times.

Lack of Employment History

Credit for Childcare

Stay-at-home moms without an employment history might be concerned about their benefits. However, due to the spousal and survivor benefits mentioned above, they should be eligible for Social Security.


1. Do stay-at-home moms get Social Security benefits even if they have never worked? 

Yes, they can qualify based on their spouse's work record.

2. What are spousal benefits, and how do they work? 

Spousal benefits allow a person to receive up to 50% of their spouse's Social Security benefits.

3. Are stay-at-home moms eligible for Social Security benefits after a divorce? 

Yes, if the marriage lasted at least 10 years.

4. What are survivor's benefits? 

Survivor benefits are benefits a person can receive if their spouse passes away, up to 100% of the deceased's benefits.

5. Do Social Security benefits differ based on the length of marriage? 

Yes, for divorced spouses, the marriage must last at least 10 years for a person to qualify for benefits based on their ex-spouse's work record.


Understanding your Social Security rights as a stay-at-home mom is crucial for financial planning. While there can be challenges, it's comforting to know that there are provisions in place that recognize the invaluable contribution of stay-at-home moms.

If you wish to learn more about self-employment income to social security disability, read through our blogs at Disability Help today.

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Victor Traylor
An expert to the field of Social Justice, Victor formed Disability Help to connect ideas and expertise from the US with rising global cultural leadership, building networks, fostering collaboration, long-term results, mutual benefit, and more extensive international perception.
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