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Effect of Remarriage-Widow(er)'s Benefits

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

406. Effect of Remarriage-Widow(er)'s Benefits

406.1 Does the remarriage of a widow(er) or surviving divorced wife or husband affect widow(er)'s benefits?

Your remarriage after age 60 does not prevent you from becoming entitled to benefits on your prior deceased spouse's Social Security earnings record.

406.2 Does the remarriage of a disabled widow(er) or surviving divorced wife or husband affect widow(er)'s benefits?

Your remarriage does not prevent you from becoming entitled to benefits on your prior deceased spouse's Social Security earnings records as long as:

  1. Your remarriage occurs after you turn 50; and

  2. Your remarriage occurs after you become disabled.

NOTE: If you remarry before you turn 50, you will not be entitled to survivor's benefits, unless the marriage ends.

Entitlement is not affected if you enter into a same-sex marriage or union. The Social Security Administration does not recognize the marriage for benefit purposes.

406.3 How does remarriage of a widow(er) or a surviving divorced wife or husband before age 60 affect widow(er)'s benefits?

If you remarry before age 60, you will not be entitled to survivor's benefits, unless:

  1. Your subsequent marriage ends, whether by death, divorce, or annulment; or

  2. Your marriage occurred after age 50 and you were entitled to benefits as a disabled widow(er) or disabled surviving divorced spouse.

406.4 How does the termination of a remarriage of a widow(er) or surviving divorced wife or husband before age 60 affect widow(er)'s benefits?

If you remarry before you turn 60 and that marriage ends, you may become entitled or re-entitled to benefits on your prior deceased spouse's earnings record. Your benefits begin the first month in which the subsequent marriage ended if all entitlement requirements are met. If the remarriage was absolutely void or was annulled from the beginning, see §1853.

Last Revised: Mar. 12, 2009

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