Program Description

The Social Security Mother’s or Father’s Insurance Benefit is a federally funded program managed by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These are benefits paid to the surviving spouse or surviving divorced spouse of an insured worker.

General Program Requirements

To qualify for this benefit program, you must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be unmarried
  • Meet the marriage duration requirement
  • Have in your care the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled and entitled to child's insurance benefits (for a surviving divorced mother or father the child must be their natural or legally adopted child)
  • Not be entitled to a higher Social Security retirement benefit on your own record
  • Not be entitled to a widow's or widower's benefit
  • Be finally divorced from the deceased worker (Surviving Divorced Spouse Only)

Based on the information you gave about:

  • your marital status,
  • length of your marriage to your deceased spouse and
  • your caring for your deceased spouse's child,

You could get Social Security mother's or father's benefits if you are not getting a higher benefit on your own work record.

PLEASE NOTE: If you get (or will get) a pension based on work for an employer who did not withhold Social Security taxes, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, your Social Security benefits may be reduced. Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review A Pension from Work Not Covered by Social Security, Social Security Publication Number 05-10045 and Government Pension Offset, Social Security Publication Number 05-10007.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this program.

Application Process

Visit the Apply For Social Security Benefits webpage to apply online.

Program Contact Information

Would you like more information about child insurance benefits? 
Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review "Social Security Benefits for Children”, Social Security Publication Number 05-10085.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review "Social Security: How You Earn Credits," Social Security Publication Number 05-10072.

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