Program Description

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

Program Requirements

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

  • Be at least age 60.
  • Be the widow or widower of a fully insured worker.
  • Meet the marriage duration requirement.
  • 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

You may also contact Social Security by phone at:
1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)

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