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.

Based on the information you gave you currently receive benefits based on a former spouse's work record. You also indicated that you were married for at least nine months to more than one deceased spouse. You might be able to get a higher benefit on the other spouse's record.

PLEASE NOTE: If you get (or will get) a pension based on work for an employer who did not withhold Social Security taxes, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, your Social Security benefits may be reduced. Visit SSA’s Publications Page and review "A Pension from Work Not Covered by Social Security", Social Security Publication Number 05-10045 and "Government Pension Offset", Social Security Publication Number 05-10007.

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

Would you like more information about widow's or widower's benefits?
Visit SSA's Publications Page and review the publication "Survivors," Social Security Publication Number 05-10084 or review Chapter 4 of the Social Security Handbook.

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