When is a widow entitled to widow(er)'s insurance benefits?

401. When is a widow(er) entitled to widow(er)'s insurance benefits?

You are entitled to widow(er)'s insurance benefits on a worker's Social Security record if the following conditions are met:

  1. You are either (1) age 60 or over; or (2) at least age 50 but not age 60 and disabled (as defined in §515) and you meet the disability-related requirements in §513;

    NOTE: A widow(er) age 60-64 and under a disability is entitled to disabled widow(er)'s benefits for Medicare purposes.

  2. The worker died fully insured (see §203.1);

  3. You are not entitled to a retirement insurance benefit that is equal to or larger than the worker's primary insurance amount;

  4. You have filed an application for widow(er)'s insurance benefits (see §405 for exceptions and see §1511 for completing application forms);

  5. You are not married or your marriage can be disregarded (see § 406 for exceptions); and

  6. One of the following conditions is met:

    1. You were married to the deceased worker for at least the nine months just before the worker died (see §404 for exceptions);

    2. You are the mother or father of the worker's son or daughter (this requirement is met if a live child was born to you and the worker, even if the child did not survive) (see §411);

    3. You legally adopted the worker's son or daughter during your marriage and before the child reached age 18 (see §329);

    4. You were married to the worker when you both legally adopted a child under age 18;

    5. The worker legally adopted (as defined in §329) your son or daughter during your marriage and before the child reached age 18; or

    6. In the month before the month you married the deceased worker, you were entitled or potentially entitled to either (1) spouse's, widow(er)'s, father's (based on the record of a fully insured worker), mother's (based on the record of a fully insured worker), parent's, or childhood disability benefits on the record of a fully insured individual under the Social Security Act; or (2) widow(er)'s, child's (age 18 or over), or parent's insurance annuity under the Railroad Retirement Act.

      NOTE: You are “potentially entitled” if you meet all requirements for entitlement, other than the filing of an application and attainment of the required age.

See §402.1 for definition of widow(er) for social security purposes.

Last Revised: Sep. 1, 2009

Comments

one time death benefit

January 23, 2009 by Guest

I have been told that there is a one time death benefit towards funeral expenses in the amount of $250. If this is true, how does the application process work?

One-time death benefit

January 23, 2009 by David Luhman

There is a one-time payment of $255 that can be made when you die if you have worked long enough. This payment can be made only to your spouse or minor children if they meet certain requirements.

Your survivors may also qualify for Survivors Benefits from Social Security. See http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html

Social Security Death Benefits.

January 24, 2009 by Guest

Coyld not find out if the only ones who have worked under social security and retired are entitled to the Social Security Death Benefits of $255.00

Widow's benefits

March 9, 2009 by Guest

I am 61 yrs old. My husband is deceased, and would have been 64 this summer. Do I have to be disabled to apply for his benefits?

survivor benefit

March 9, 2009 by Guest

My dad is currently 58 and my mother passed away two years ago. It is my understanding that he can collect survivors benefits when he reaches age 60. When he retires and starts collecting his own SS benefits, will he lose the survivors benefits? Also, how (if at all) would it affect his benefit amount if he starts collecting the survivors benefit at age 60? Thanks

Applying for Survivor's Benefits

March 10, 2009 by David Luhman

No. Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

  • A widow or widower -- full benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60
  • A disabled widow or widower -- as early as age 50
  • A widow or widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits

See here for details :
http://www.ssa.gov/ww&os2.htm

Survivor benefits vs. retirement benefits

March 11, 2009 by David Luhman

You can receive widows/widowers benefits based on your age at any time between age 60 and your full retirement age as a survivor. However, if you start at an earlier age, your survivors benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age.

There are disadvantages and advantages to taking your survivors benefit before your full retirement age. The advantage is that you collect benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is that your benefit may be permanently reduced.

This page may be helpful :
http://www.ssa.gov/survivorchartred.htm

Social Security Benefits

March 12, 2009 by Guest

I recently retired from my government job after 30 yrs at age 61.I also went back to work at another job.Can I still receive ss benefits.Also I am a widow so can I get my husband's social security benefits .I will soon be 62.

Benefit options for retiring widow/widower

March 12, 2009 by David Luhman

Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to a widow with full benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60.

If you are collecting survivors benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefits (assuming you are eligible and your retirement rate is higher than the widow's rate) as early as age 62.

Note that if you work and receive retirement benefits, your benefits will be reduced for amounts earned above a certain level. If you were born January 2, 1943, through January 1, 1955, then your full retirement age for retirement insurance benefits is 66. If you are younger than full retirement age during all of 2009, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earned above $14,160.

See here for details :
http://www.ssa.gov/ww&os2.htm
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10069.html
http://www.ssa.gov/estimator/

Can I work and still collect survivor benefits?

June 21, 2009 by Guest

My husband passed last year and I am collecting Social Security benefits for myself and my small children. Can I go to work part-time without losing these benefits? I am no where near retirement age but I am the caretaker of the my children. If I can, HOW MUCH am I allowed to make????????

How work affects Social Security survivor benefits

June 21, 2009 by David Luhman

You can get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits and work at the same time. But, if you are younger than full retirement age and earn more than certain amounts, your benefits will be reduced.

The specifics vary from case to case, but in one instance, if you are younger than full retirement age during all of 2009, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earned above $14,160.

See here for details :
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10069.html

One time death Benefit

August 3, 2009 by Guest

My husband passed away July 30th 2009 at VA La Jolla, CA.
Please advise what I need to do to receive expenses.
Also, I was married before for 22 years. Is it true that I can request
my first husband SS if it is higher than my deceased husband and my SS.
Thank you

Remarriage and survivor benefits

August 3, 2009 by David Luhman

In the case of remarriage, your ability to get benefits based on your first spouse's record depends on WHEN you remarried.

Generally, you cannot get widow’s or widower’s benefits if you remarry before age 60. But remarriage after age 60 (or age 50 if you are disabled) will not prevent you from getting benefit payments based on your former spouse’s work. And at age 62 or older, you may get benefits based on your new spouse’s work, if those benefits would be higher.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html#3

Here is information regarding what to do when a beneficiary passes away :

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/deathbenefits.htm

Social Security survivor benefits

November 13, 2009 by Guest

November 13, 2009
If I take my widow's benefit at age 60 is there any penalty? if so what is the percentage, and when I reach my retirement age can I change to my social securities? I will be 60 this year (2009).

Reduction in survivor benefits if they start at age 60

November 15, 2009 by David Luhman

Your survivor benefits are a function of your when you start the benefits and your birth year.

For example, if you were born between 1945 and 1956, your full retirement age for survivors benefits is 66. If you begin survivor benefits at age 60 and zero months, your benefit would be 71.5 percent of what you would receive if you waited until age 66.

http://www.ssa.gov/survivorchartred.htm

http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/1945s.html