Social Security Disability Eligibility for Widows and Widowers

By Disability Group

My deceased spouse received disability benefits from Social Security Administration (“SSA”). As the widow or widower, can I receive Social Security disability benefits?

Yes.  In order for a widow or widower to receive disability benefits, the following requirements must be met:

  • The widow or widower has to be between the ages of 50 and 60;
  • The widow or widower meets SSA’s definition of disability; and
  • The widow or widower’s disability started before the spouse died or within seven (7) years after the spouse’s death.

How long do I have to be married in order to receive survivors benefits?

If you divorced the deceased ex-spouse, your marriage to the ex-spouse should have lasted at least ten (10) years.  If you were married to the deceased spouse at his or her death, the marriage should have lasted at least one (1) year.        

How do I apply for survivors benefits as a widow or widower?

A widow or widower cannot apply for survivors benefits based on his or her disability on-line.  However, he or she can get the process started by completing an Adult Disability Report found on SSA’s website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/.  You should then contact your local SSA field office to get information about completing an application for survivors benefits.

Do I have to prove disability if I am at least 60 years old in order to receive survivors benefits?

No.  Widows and widowers become entitled to survivors benefits if they are at least 60 years of age without proving disability. 

For more information about survivors benefits, please visit Social Security Administration.

If you have any further questions, please contact your local SSA office or an experienced Social Security attorney.

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