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When an Application for Widow(er)'s Insurance Benefits is Not Required

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


405. When an Application for Widow(er)'s Insurance Benefits is Not Required

405.1 When are you NOT required to file an application for widow(er)'s benefits?

You do not need to file an application for widow(er)'s benefits if:

  1. You have reached retirement age and you were entitled to spouse's benefits for the month immediately before the month that your spouse died;

  2. You were entitled to father's or mother's benefits for the month immediately before the month you reached retirement age; or

  3. You were: (1) between ages 62 and retirement age at the time your spouse died and (2) entitled to spouse's benefits, but not to disability or retirement benefits. The spouse's benefits are automatically converted to widow(er)'s insurance benefits.

405.2 When must you file a certificate of election?

You must file a certificate of election to become entitled to widow(er)'s benefits if:

  1. You are receiving reduced spouse's (or divorced spouse's) benefits and retirement or disability benefits in the month before the month of the worker's death; and

  2. You are between age 62 and retirement age in the month of the worker's death.

Last Revised: Feb. 11, 2004



There are 10 Comments

if you are on disibality and you find out that you husband has passed away, and we were married for more than ten years, and i remarried after i became disabled can i get survival benefits. i am 48years old and this was his first marrage both of us?

I am unsure of how disability may affect things, but in general, you cannot receive survivors benefits if you remarry before the age of 60 unless the latter marriage ends, whether by death, divorce, or annulment.

You may wish to contact Social Security directly for your case.

My husband was on disability and past on 2 days ago. What do i do now. Am I entitled to any or part of his disability I am 54 and I am disabled but not reeving disability because were were counted as married household. I don't know where to begin or what to do

As a widow, you may qualify for full survivor benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60. If you are a disabled widow, you can receive survivor benefits as early as age 50.

You will want to contact your local Social Security office to begin the process.

I have recently been approved for my ssdi, however when I applied, I thought I was applying under my deceased spouse's social security number as I was told that if disabled I could draw from his worker's account rather than my own. after receiving my award letter, I have noticed that I am being paid under my social security number and not his.. Could you please tell me what my options are, as his benifits were much higher than mine. He was drawing his sddi for close to 7 months before he passed away and was receiving close to 2,000.00 verses me receiving 700.00 a month from my account..

Thank You In Advanced ..Hjordis

For your specific case, I suggest you contact Social Security directly.

i am 55 and currently receive disability benefits for dec. and jan. My benefits will change to social security benefits in feb. i am getting married on new years eve to a 40 year old women. will she be entitled to any of my benefits or will my benefits change. she is unemployed and is currently appealing her claim. could someone help me with my concerns. thanks a lot. monkeybiz71 AT

You don't mention if you're on "normal" Social Security disability or SSI disability.

For "normal" disability, benefits are payable to the spouse of a disabled worker when he/she reaches age 62 or older, unless he or she collects a higher Social Security benefit based on his or her earnings record.

Your spouse can also collect benefits at any age if he or she is caring for your child under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits.

For SSI disability, marriage may affect (reduce) your benefits, especially if your wife has meaningful income or assets.


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