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.