Program Description

Social Security's Disabled Widow(er)’s Insurance Benefits are federally funded and administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These benefits are paid to the disabled widow or widower of a deceased worker who had earned enough Social Security credits.

Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least age 50, but not yet age 60.
  • Have been married to the deceased spouse for not less than 9 months immediately prior to the day in which the deceased spouse died, unless an exception applies.
  • Be unmarried, unless the marriage can be disregarded.
  • Not be entitled to an equal or higher Social Security retirement benefit based on your own work.

If you would like to find out if you may be eligible for any of Social Security's benefit programs, use SSA’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool.

Once you have completed the eligibility screening questionnaire, you will be provided with a list of benefits for which you may be eligible. Print this page for your records before going to the application site.

Application Process

Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivor’s benefits. For application information, please visit the How To Apply page.

Contact Information

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

Benefit Categories
family
Family Social Security
umbrella
Insurance Social Security
spouse
Spouse & Widow(er) Social Security