If your spouse qualified for Social Security benefits before their death, you may be eligible to draw widow’s benefits from the Social Security Administration. These are sometimes called survivor benefits. You must be at least 60 years old or disabled and age 50 to 60 and have been married for nine months or more before your spouse’s death to get these monthly payments.

Qualifying for Widow’s Benefits From the Social Security Administration

Who qualifies for widow’s benefits after the death of a qualifying spouse is not always easy to determine. The rules are complicated, and you need to meet a list of requirements before you can qualify. This includes:

  • Be a minimum of 60 years old or 50 years old and disabled or caring for the young or disabled children of the deceased; and
  • Be the widow or widower of a worker who paid sufficient FICA taxes; and
  • Married for nine months or longer before your spouse’s death; and
  • Remain unmarried, except in certain circumstances; and
  • Not be entitled to a higher benefit based on your own work record

In some cases, you can also qualify for survivor’s benefits if you divorced the deceased after ten years or more of marriage.

Calculating the Amount of Your Widow’s Benefits

The amount of your monthly benefit checks or deposit depends on several factors and is not easily calculated without knowing the specific details of your spouse’s benefits and other information. The factors that play a role in this calculation include:

  • Whether your spouse began collecting benefits before their death
  • Your spouse’s benefit amount
  • Whether or not your spouse reached full retirement age before their death
  • Your age

If you are between the ages of 50 and 60 and are disabled, the Social Security attorneys at Berger and Green can help you learn more about your possible benefit amount.

Applying for Widow’s Benefits After the Death of Your Spouse

Generally, the funeral home that handles your spouse’s funeral will report their death to the Social Security Administration. However, we recommend you call to report it or visit your local Social Security field office to be sure and to request widow’s benefits. You can report the death by calling 1-800-772-1213 during the week any time between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

We Can Help You Apply for Widow’s Benefits

This process should not be complicated but may require you to present certain documentation. You may want to discuss your application with an attorney who knows how the Social Security Administration works and how to fight a denial. At Berger and Green, our attorneys can ensure you have the necessary paperwork as well as handle your benefits application and, if necessary, your appeal.

Reach Out to Berger and Green About Your Widow’s Benefits Today

The Social Security attorneys from Berger and Green can help you pursue the benefits you need and deserve. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to discuss your needs with a member of our team at no cost to you.