Program Description

The Social Security Widow(er)’s Insurance Benefits are a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). These are benefits paid to the widow or widower of a deceased worker who had earned enough work credits.

General Program Requirements

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

  • Be at least age 60
  • Be the widow or widower of a fully insured worker
  • Meet the marriage duration requirement.
  • Be unmarried, unless the marriage can be disregarded
  • Not be entitled to an equal or higher Social Security retirement benefit based on your own work.

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

Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivor’s benefits. For application information, please visit the How To Apply page.

Program Contact Information

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

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