Social Security for Widows
Life is unpredictable. When death strikes unexpectedly, everything can change. Circumstances become disrupted. Family members feel distraught. Financial situations may become dire. The consequences of death can be severe and long-lasting.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can help.
Survivors, such as widows, are eligible to receive substantial financial assistance through monthly benefits. However, the widow’s deceased spouse must have earned a sufficient number of work credits under Social Security.
This work history is critical for a widow to receive survivor benefits.
Social Security Widow Benefits
There are a number of conditions under which a widow can receive social security survivor benefits. Firstly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will assess the work history of the widow’s deceased spouse.
When the deceased spouse was working, that spouse must have accrued a certain number of work credits. Workers can receive up to four credits annually. No worker is required to exceed 40 credits, or 10 years of work, for benefit eligibility.
The number of credits required to receive benefits varies. This requirement is based on the age at which the worker dies. Younger workers need fewer credits for widows to receive benefits. The SSA will evaluate on a case-by-case basis to determine qualification.
Social Security Disability Widow Benefits
Assuming the widow’s deceased spouse earned enough under Social Security, certain benefits are available.
- A widow can
- Receive full survivor benefits at full retirement age or reduced benefits at age 60
- Switch to retirement benefits at age 62, provided the widow qualifies for such benefits on her own record
- Receive benefits as early as age 50, if the widow is disabled and that disability began before or within seven years of the spouse’s death
Note: Both the deceased worker’s children and widow can receive benefits, even if the worker didn’t accrue enough work credits. If the surviving spouse is caring for the children of the deceased, she may receive benefits. The worker must have accrued 6 work credits (one and a half years) in the three years just prior to death. Widows should contact the SSA for details.
Disabled widows may also receive benefits in ways that non-disabled widows cannot.
Social Security Disability Survivor Benefits for Widow Assistance
The Social Security Disability Administration (SSA) uses the same definition of disability for widows as it does for workers. A widow receiving Social Security benefits and caring for the worker’s children is still eligible for survivors benefits.
Disabled Widow Benefits are granted to these widows, as long as the widows’ disabilities start before the Social Security benefits end or within seven years after they end.
Overall, the process for receiving widow benefits can become very confusing. If you have been denied Social Security Disability Benefits, you should seek the legal advice and representation of experienced legal counsel.
Consult the best disability attorneys around. Ensure your documentation is properly and completely filed. Appeal if necessary. Protect your legal rights and get the Social Security Administration (SSA) determination that you deserve.