Social Security Payments after Death: 4 Eligibility Factors for Widows

Widows may be eligible for Social Security payments after the death of their spouse. If your spouse was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be able to receive Social Security widow benefits, provided you meet certain criteria. Whether you care for minors and your age are among the factors affecting eligibility for benefits. 

Eligibility Factors for Social Security Widow Benefits 

Over 9.8 million people receive disability payments, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Many families depend on this income for their livelihood. If your loved one has recently passed, you may be able to continue to receive a portion of his or her SSDI benefits

There are four ways you may qualify, each uniquely affecting the percentage for which you may be eligible: 

  • Caring for Minors – If your child under the age of 16 receives survivor’s benefits, you will receive 75 percent of the total SSDI benefit.
  • Your Disability – If you’re disabled and at least 50 years old, you may be able to receive 71.5 percent of the SSDI benefits, but certain restrictions apply.
  • Age 60 to Retirement – If you are between the ages of 60 and retirement age, you receive 71.5 – 99 percent of your spouse’s SSDI benefit.
  • Full Retirement Age – If you have reached full retirement, you may receive your spouse's entire SSDI benefit. 

Keep in mind that other factors may affect your eligibility for Social Security payments after death, such as remarriage and income. If you remarry before 60 (or 50 if you are disabled) you may not be able to collect benefits. Meanwhile, if you earn a certain income, your benefit may be reduced.  

Also remember that if you are at or beyond retirement age, then your own benefit could be higher than the amount to which you may be entitled from your spouse's disability benefits. In this case, you can choose the higher benefit. Make sure you fully understand Social Security payments after death when dealing with this issue.

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