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)

If you would like to find out if you may be eligible for any of the benefits SSA administers, take SSA’s Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool.

Once you have completed the eligibility screening questionnaire, you will be provided with a list of benefits for which you may be eligible. Print this page for your records before going to the application site.

Your Next Steps

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

Application Process

Once you know which benefits you may be eligible for, visit the Apply For Social Security Benefits webpage to apply online.

Program Contact Information

Visit SSA’s Publications home page for detailed information about SSA programs and policies.

Or for additional information on this and any SSA benefit, call:
1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)