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).
You indicated that you were married to your deceased spouse for less than nine months. Usually, a person must be married for at least nine months before they can get benefits on a deceased spouse's record. However, there are exceptions to this rule. (For a list of exceptions, review Section 401 of the Social Security Handbook.) You could get Social Security mother's or father's benefits if all of the following apply:
- You meet one of the exceptions.
- Your deceased spouse had enough work credits.
- You are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record.