Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

I Am a Widow(er). Can I Collect Social Security Benefits Based on My Spouse’s Earnings Record?


It depends. If you are a widow or widower who is 60 years old, you may be able to collect a monthly payment based on your spouse's earning record. This depends on whether your spouse paid enough into the Social Security program. If both you and your spouse worked, you will be able to receive whichever check is higher.

If you are a widow or widower between the ages of 50 to 59 AND you are disabled, you may be able to collect a Social Security payment based on your spouse's earnings record. Again, it depends on whether your spouse contributed enough to the Social Security program during his or her lifetime. Unlike those 60 or over, however, people 50 to 59 must also prove that they are disabled. The definition of disability for widow's benefits is the same for the other types of disability discussed in our blog. Therefore, the information you have seen here will apply to your case if you are trying to prove you are disabled in order to receive widow's benefits. In addition, you must prove that you became disabled within seven years of your spouse's death.

If you are a widow or widower who is 50 to 59 and cannot work due to a medical impairment, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on your spouse's earnings record. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you prove that you meet Social Security's definition of "disabled."

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