Are Social Security benefits available to me as a widow(er)?

In general, benefits are available to widow(er)s, but they are subject to various qualifications and limitations.  After a one-time payment of $255 payable to the surviving spouse (if he or she was living with the deceased, or if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased's record), the following may be eligible for monthly benefits: 

  • Widow(er)s aged 60 and above, or disabled and above 50
  • Surviving divorced spouses, under certain circumstances
  • Widow or widower of any age caring for the deceased's child (<16) and receiving benefits on the deceased's record 
  • An unmarried child of the deceased (<18) or above 18 with certain disability requirements

Be aware these are "surface" considerations. Other dynamics such as marital status, or the receipt of a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, can have an impact on widow(er) benefits. 

For more information please refer to https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou.html