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Checks to Husband and Wife

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

131. Checks to Husband and Wife

131.1 Are separate Social Security benefit checks mailed to husbands and wives?

Separate payments for Social Security benefits are made to a husband and wife by either direct deposit or check.

131.2 Are separate Supplemental Security Income benefit checks mailed to husbands and wives?

If you and your spouse receive SSI payments, you will receive separate direct deposit payments or checks, even if you live in the same household.

If your spouse dies, return any checks not cashed to the Social Security office. Any payments due your spouse will be paid to you if you were living together within six months before the death of your spouse, even if you are not eligible for SSI.

Last Revised: Jul. 30, 2004

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There are 6 Comments

My husband recently died...he was 67 yrs old and drew social security benefits...his wife has been on social security disability for years..will she be able to draw any part of her husbands social security?..she is 61 yrs old

I assume you meant to have written "... his EX-wife has been...".

If the previous marriage lasted 10 years or longer, it is possible for her to receive survivor's benefits based on her ex-husband's work record.

If your divorced spouse dies, you can receive benefits as a widow/widower if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer and you are age 60 or older (or age 50 if you are disabled.)

Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse who is 60 or older (age 50 if disabled) will not affect the benefit rates for other survivors receiving benefits.

My wife just died at 64 and she was on total disability. I am 59 years old and I am jobless, do not own anything or have any money at all. Can I draw her benefits? What are my options?

You'll want to contact Social Security to confirm for your particular case, but it sounds like you would qualify for survivor benefits when you reach age 60.

If you are the widower of a person who worked long enough under Social Security, you can receive FULL survivor benefits at FULL retirement age (age 66 for you) or reduced survivor benefits as early as age 60.

I was told that when you are able to receive benefits that the first five are held until the end of the year and I would receive them when I file for tax returns. I have not seen them and was wondering if I am suppose to do something more for your office to get them. My income will change in July when we get cost of living raise at 1%. so I understand that my checks will change accordingly. Can you help me?

First, please note we are not affiliated with the US federal agency. We are an independent site.

I'm not sure I understand the question. You imply your first five survivor benefits will be withheld. Although there is a five-month waiting period for disability cases, I am unaware of any waiting period for survivor benefits (as long as you qualify).

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