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Social Security for Surviving Spouses

The death of a spouse is never easy. A death can result in serious and long-term changes, and to help cope with these changes, it is important to receive counsel or advice from a legal professional that can help explain any survivor benefits that may be available to you.

Understanding Your Benefits

A variety of benefits may be available to surviving spouses based on the Social Security earnings of the deceased spouse. In order to obtain these benefits, certain requirements must be met.

If a widow or widower becomes disabled, the following requirements must be met to collect Social Security disability benefits:

  • You must be at least 50 years of age
  • Your condition must be defined as a disability by the SSA under the SSDI guidelines
  • Your disability must occur within seven years of your spouse’s death
  • Your spouse must have qualified for Social Security based on work requirements at the time of his or her death.

Survivor benefits are also available in age and child-in-care situations. Rules regarding these benefits and the requirements for them are very specific. Additional rules may apply to surviving spouses who are divorced or married.

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