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 be eligible 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 about your age, your current marital status, and length of your marriage to your deceased spouse, you could get Social Security widow's or widower's benefits if you are not getting a higher benefit on your own work 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.

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 of three
Family Social Security
Insurance Social Security
Spouse & Widow(er) Social Security