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

When will you NOT receive widow(er)'s insurance benefits?

408. When will you NOT receive widow(er)'s insurance benefits?

Widow(er)'s insurance benefits may not be payable for some months if any of the conditions below apply:

  1. You are under full retirement age, working, and earning more than the annual exempt amount (see §1803);

  2. You are under full retirement age and working outside the U.S. for more than 45 hours in a month (see §1823);

  3. You are an alien who is outside the U.S. for more than six consecutive calendar months and do not meet an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions or the applicable residency requirements as defined in Section 202(t) of the Social Security Act. For information on payments while you are outside the U.S., see;

  4. You are living in a U.S. Treasury restricted country where it is not permitted to mail U.S. Government payments (see §1848). For information on payments while you are outside the U.S., see;

  5. You are living in an SSA restricted country and do not meet an exception (see §1848). For information on payments while you are outside the U.S., see;

  6. You are an alien who is outside the U.S., and you were deported;

  7. You are entitled to a government pension (Federal, State, or a political subdivision of a State not covered by Social Security) based of your own employment and:

    1. The entitlement requires offset against the Social Security payment; and

    2. The exceptions in §1836 do not apply;

  8. You are confined within the U.S. to a correctional institution for more than 30 continuous days, as a result of a conviction of a criminal offense or a court of competent jurisdiction issues a verdict, finding or a ruling that declares you are:

    • guilty, but insane with respect to a criminal offense;

    • not guilty of such a criminal offense by reason of insanity;

    • incompetent to stand trial under an allegation of a criminal offense;

    • determined to have a similar verdict or finding with respect to a criminal offense based on similar factors (such as mental disease, mental defect or mental incompetence) and

    you are confined to an institution at public expense for more than 30 continuous days;


    Immediately upon completion of confinement in a correctional institution (confinement in the correctional institution was based on a crime; an element of which was sexual activity), you are confined by court order to an institution for more than 30 continuous days, at public expense because you were determined to be a sexually dangerous person or a sexual predator or similar finding.

  9. You have an outstanding warrant for a crime or attempted crime that carries a penalty of death or imprisonment for more than one year, or an outstanding warrant for a Federal or State probation or parole violation.

  10. You do not have a Social Security Number, and you refuse to apply for one; or

  11. You are in the United States, and you are neither a U.S. citizen nor an alien lawfully present.

The conditions regarding nonpayment of benefits are explained in more detail in Chapter 18.

Last Revised: Sep. 10, 2007

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I was totally dependent on my

January 28, 2009 by Guest

I was totally dependent on my late husbands disability money. Because I am only 55, I cannot collect "widows benefits" til at least age 60. HOW am I suppose to live and support an 18 year old in college?

Survivors Benefits

January 29, 2009 by David Luhman

For Survivor Benefits, reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60. Also, unmarried children who are under age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) also can receive benefits.

Please see this page :


February 16, 2009 by Guest


Survivor benefits

February 17, 2009 by David Luhman

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
See here for details :

Will I get benefits if my spose dies?

February 24, 2009 by Guest

I am 70,and collect my own Social Security benefits.If my spouse passes away,will I still get his benefits along with mine?

Survivor benefits vs. your own benefits

February 25, 2009 by David Luhman

If you are getting benefits based on your own work, call or visit Social Security, and they will check to see if you can get more money as a widow or widower. You will receive the higher benefit, not a combination of the two types of benefits. You will need to complete an application to switch to survivors benefits, and they will need to see your spouse’s death certificate.

See here for details :

widow's benefit

April 19, 2009 by Guest

I am 72 y.o. and receive a ss benefit of $110/mo starting at age 62 and an Ohio state pension of $2097. My husband,76, receives a monthly ss benefit, starting at age 62, currently at $1569/mo. Under these circumstances, will I receive an increased ss benefit when he dies?

Windfall Elimination Provision and Surviror Benefits

April 20, 2009 by David Luhman

Here are excerpts from a paper on the Windfall Elimination Provision that may be of interest :

Almost half of the retired workers affected by the WEP received a federal pension, and another 36 percent received either a state or local pension.

The WEP computation reduces the PIA for some retired and disabled workers and their spouses and children. It is the PIA of record. However, the WEP computation does not apply to survivor benefits. If a worker dies, benefits for widow(er)s and children are based on the regular PIA.

Here is the paper :

has obema signed the stimulas

May 13, 2010 by Guest

has obema signed the stimulas for 2010 social security receivers

Social Security stimulus for 2010

May 14, 2010 by David Luhman

I have not seen any reports about a Social Security payment for 2010. Last report I saw said that in March, 2010, the Senate voted down a stimulus payment for 2010.

ex husband remarried

December 10, 2011 by Guest

We were married for 28 years. It has been 11 years after the divorce and he remarried this year. Will I be able to get any of his social security.

Benefits as divorced spouse when ex-spouse remarries

December 12, 2011 by David Luhman

You'll want to verify for your case, but you should qualify for benefits on his record.

If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried) if:

  • You are unmarried;
  • You are age 62 or older;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse's work.

If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse's record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce or annulment).

survivor benefits

March 26, 2012 by Guest

I am over 60. My wife died 31 years ago. When she was eligible, I received benefits for my daughter who is now 32 . In the last ten years, my total income has been below $15,000 annually except for last year when it was almost $20,000. Would I be eligible for benefits from my wife? I did not remarry. I do not know her SS# and I was administrator of her estate. I have no net worth nor does her estate.

Survivor benefits vs. retirement benefits

March 26, 2012 by David Luhman

Based on what you provided, it's likely you'll qualify for Social Security survivor benefits.

You can begin collecting survivor benefits as early as age 60. However, you may want to delay initiation of benefits until later, especially if you're working. The longer you delay benefits, the larger your monthly check.

Also, in your case, it sounds like your wages were relatively low, but you may still qualify for a larger retirement benefit based on your wage history. This however, means waiting until at least age 62.

Contact Social Security for your particular case.

ssi benefits

June 20, 2012 by Guest


Survivor benefits for widow

June 20, 2012 by David Luhman

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 (66 or more) for survivors or reduced benefits as early as age 60. If you are a disabled widow, you can receive survivor benefits as early as age 50.

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