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

When can you receive widow(er)'s benefits based on disability?

513. When can you receive widow(er)'s benefits based on disability?

You can receive disabled widow(er)'s benefits as a disabled widow(er) or surviving divorced spouse age 50-59 if, effective for benefits payable January 1991 or later, you meet the conditions below:

  1. You meet the definition of disability for disabled workers in §507.1.;

  2. You became disabled no later than seven years after the latest of the following months:

    1. The month the disabled worker died;

    2. The last month you were previously entitled to mother's or father's insurance benefits based on disability on the disabled worker's earnings record; or

    3. The month your entitlement to widow(er)'s insurance benefits ended because your disability ended;

  3. You have been disabled throughout a waiting period of five full calendar months in a row; and

    Note: No waiting period is required if you were previously entitled to disabled widow(er)'s benefits.

  4. You meet the non-disability requirements for a surviving spouse or a surviving divorced spouse (see Chapter 4).

Note: A widow(er) age 60-64 and under a disability is entitled to Medicare benefits only.

(See §407 concerning the amount of benefits.)

Last Revised: Jan. 22, 2008

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social security benefits

May 11, 2010 by Guest

My husband passed away and I was entitled to widows disability income, Can my husbands ex wife file for social security and will it affect my benefits?

Survivor benefits for divorced spouse

May 12, 2010 by David Luhman

A person can receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse on the Social Security record of a former spouse who died fully insured, if he or she:

* Is at least age 60, or age 50 and disabled;
* Was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years; and
* Is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

The benefits paid to a divorced spouse or a surviving divorced spouse will not affect the benefit amount paid to other family members who receive benefits on the same record.

My mother died on May 7

May 19, 2010 by Guest

She was in a nursing home and they had received her check on May 3, deposited and paid the home. Was that check for the previous month, or will that money need to be returned?

Reporting the death of a beneficiary

May 19, 2010 by David Luhman

Please contact the SSA regarding this.

You can report the death to the SSA by calling toll free, 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call the TTY number, 1-800-325-0778), from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Whenever you call, have the deceased person's Social Security number handy. To report the death of a beneficiary, you should:

  • Notify the bank or other financial institution of the beneficiary's death.
  • Request that the bank or other financial institution return any funds received for the month of death and later to Social Security as soon as possible.
  • Return checks to Social Security as soon as possible. DO NOT CASH any checks received for the month in which the beneficiary died or thereafter. For example, if the person dies in July, you must return the benefit paid in August.

A one-time payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased's record in the month of death.


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