Social Security Benefits on Behalf of a Loved One

If you recently lost someone you love, the very last thing on your mind should be your current finances. Fortunately, there could be assistance available for you and your family. Widows are able to receive benefits on behalf of a deceased spouse through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Here are a few steps you can take to quickly determine whether or not you qualify for Social Security survivor benefits:


Step One: Determine if your spouse worked enough for you to qualify.

If your husband passed away, he must have been working for you to receive survivors’ benefits on his behalf. This is because survivors’ benefits are a form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and are only paid to taxpayers.

The amount of work needed to qualify will vary depending on your husband’s age, but so long as he worked at least part-time any five of the past ten years, he’ll almost certainly qualify.


Step Two: Determine if your family is eligible by age.

Survivors’ benefits are designed to help people in need, so not every spouse will automatically qualify. There are three ways a widow could be eligible for survivors’ benefits on behalf of a husband:

1. You are age 60 or older.
2. You are age 50 or older, and have a disability that started before you turned 43.
3. You have a child together under age 16. Your age will not matter if you and your husband have a young child.

Keep in mind that you must have been married to your husband for at least 10 years to qualify for survivors’ benefits as a widow. If you have been married for less than 10 years, but have a child, your child will still be eligible for survivors’ benefits until age 18.


Step Three: Applying for Social Security survivors’ benefits.

If you’re the right age or have a child who qualifies, you should apply for Social Security survivors’ benefits as soon as possible. Unfortunately, you can only apply at your local SSA office. You can call the SSA toll-free to schedule an appointment at 1-800-772-1213.

This article was provided by Disability Benefits Help. If you need any assistance, or have any questions on whether or not you may qualify for survivors’ benefits, feel free to contact our staff at