Program Description

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

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 all of the following apply:

  • Your former spouse had enough work credits.
  • You are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record.
  • The child in your care is also your child.

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.

Benefit Categories
Family Social Security
Insurance Social Security