|Q. What widow's benefits exist from Social Security if my former spouse dies?
In order to qualify for derivative widow (widower) Social Security benefits,
a couple must have been married for at least 10 years and the contributing
spouse must have been fully insured through Social Security at the time
of his death (the contributor must have paid into the system for at least
In order to qualify for widow benefits, a surviving divorced spouse must
be at least 60 years of age (or at least 50 years if disabled), and not
have remarried again before age 60.
To prevent a loss of survivor benefits a former spouse who is nearing age
60 and considering remarriage should delay the wedding until after their
60th birthday. However, remarriage doesn't preclude eligibility for disabled surviving
spouses or disabled divorcing spouses who remarry between ages 50 and 59.
Unlike what is received by way of derivative benefits on account of a
former spouses still living - which is 50%, upon the former spouse's
death the derivative spouse is entitled to 100% of the benefits the former
spouse was receiving. What a widow receives depends upon their age: This
amount is between 70% at age 60 and 100 % at age 65.
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