Social Security Mother's or Father's Insurance Benefits

Program Description

The Social Security Mother’s or Father’s Insurance Benefit is a federally funded program managed by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These are benefits paid to the surviving spouse or surviving divorced spouse of an insured worker.

General Program Requirements

To qualify for this benefit program, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be unmarried
  • Meet the marriage duration requirement
  • Have in your care the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled and entitled to child's insurance benefits (for a surviving divorced mother or father the child must be their natural or legally adopted child)
  • Not be entitled to a higher Social Security retirement benefit on your own record
  • Not be entitled to a widow's or widower's benefit
  • Be finally divorced from the deceased worker (Surviving Divorced Spouse Only)

Based on the information you gave about your marital status, the length of marriage to your deceased spouse and your caring for your deceased spouse's child, you could get Social Security mother's or father's benefits if:

  • your former spouse had enough work credits;
  • you are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record; and
  • the child in your care is also your child.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

Visit the Apply For Social Security Benefits webpage to apply online.

Program Contact Information

Would you like more information about mother's or father's benefits?
Use the link below to our Publications Home Page and review our publication "Survivors," Social Security Publication Number 05-10084 or review Chapter 4 of the Social Security Handbook.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
Visit SSA's Publications Home page and review "Social Security: How You Earn Credits," Social Security Publication Number 05-10072.

Visit SSA's Publications home page for detailed information about SSA programs and policies.