Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration

Social Security Payment Checks |

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

Exception To Nine-Month Duration-of-Marriage Requirement

404. Exception To Nine-Month Duration-of-Marriage Requirement

404.1 What are the exceptions to the nine-month duration-of-marriage requirement?

The nine-month duration-of-marriage requirement in §401(F)(1) is waived if the widow(er) was married to the insured person at the time of the insured person's death and either:

  1. The insured person's death was accidental (see §404.2 below); or

  2. The insured person's death occurred in the line of duty while he or she was a member of a uniformed service serving on active duty; or

  3. The widow(er) was previously married to and divorced from the insured person and the previous marriage had lasted at least nine months; or

  4. Effective for applications filed in or after March 2004,

    • The insured person had been married prior to his or her marriage to the widow(er); and

    • The prior spouse was institutionalized during the insured person's marriage to him or her due to mental incompetence or similar incapacity; and

    • During the period of the prior spouse's institutionalization, the insured person would have divorced the prior spouse and married the surviving spouse, but did not do so because the divorce would have been unlawful, by reason of the institutionalization, under the laws of the State of the insured person's domicile at the time (this determination is based on evidence satisfactory to SSA); and

    • The prior spouse remained institutionalized up to the time of his or her death; and

    • The insured person married the widow(er) within 60 days after the prior spouse's death.

Note: The exceptions to the nine-month duration-of-marriage requirement in A., B., and C. above do not apply if, at the time of the marriage, the insured person could not reasonably have been expected to live for nine months.

404.2 When is a death considered "accidental"?

The insured person's death is defined as accidental only if:

  1. He or she received bodily injuries through violent, external, and accidental means;

  2. The insured worker died within three months after the day that the injuries were received; and

  3. The worker's death was a direct result of the bodily injuries, independent of all other causes.

Last Revised: Feb. 4, 2008

Sponsored Links



widow benefit

April 26, 2013 by Guest

Hi, I'm a widow age 47. My husband pass away and was already retired, he was receiving his SS retirement check every month, we were married for 3 years. Am I entitle to receive any benefit of him at my age?

Widow's benefits for under-age-50 woman

April 26, 2013 by David Luhman

I only see this as possible if you take care of the deceased worker's child. Otherwise, you normally need to be at least age 60 (50 if disabled) to receive survivor benefits.

If you are the widow or widower of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can:

  • Receive full benefits at full retirement age for survivors or reduced benefits as early as age 60.
  • Begin receiving benefits as early as age 50 if you are disabled AND the disability started before or within seven years of the worker's death.
  • Receive survivors benefits at any age if you take care of the deceased worker's child who is under age 16 or is disabled and receives benefits on the worker's record.


Ads - Also Recommended