If your spouse passes away before the age when they would receive Social Security benefits, or even if they were already receiving benefits, you may be entitled to receive payments as the surviving spouse. There are several criteria that must be met before you can receive benefits as a widow or widower because your spouse is deceased. Take a look at some of what you should know before talking to a social security attorney for help.
You should qualify easier if you have young children.
If you and your deceased spouse were raising children together, you will usually have an easier time getting survivors' benefits from the Social Security Administration. Typically, if you can prove to the court that you have younger children at home who were either entitled to benefits because their other parent was already drawing benefits, or would be, you can get through the qualification process a little easier. The administration knows that you likely rely on the money to raise and support your children, so they are far less likely to give you a hassle when you apply for survivors' benefits as a widow.
You can sometimes get survivors' benefits even if you were no longer married.
If you were married to your partner for a long time, but you got a divorce before they passed away, it does not necessarily mean you will not be able to get widow's benefits. You should check with a social security attorney for help, but you can file to receive benefits if certain circumstances apply. For example, if you were married to the person for at least ten years, you may be eligible to receive benefits once they die. If you are over the age of 62 and have not married anyone else, you should be eligible for benefits. If you are caring for the individual's minor children, you may be able to get benefits for them even if you were not married for ten years.
You will likely lose benefits if you get remarried.
If you get remarried, you are bringing in a secondary financial support person into the household. Therefore, you will likely lose whatever survivors benefit you were receiving after the death of your spouse. There can be exceptions to this rule, however, so make sure you fully discuss how a change in your current marital status or living arrangements can affect you if you are already getting benefits.