Am I Eligible For A Refund Of The Social Security Taxes That My Deceased Wife Paid?

Dec 6 2016 - 10:30am

I started collecting SSD benefits in March 2016, my wife passed away in October 2016. She did not apply for benefits ( 1,300 per month ) whereas my benefits are around 2,500 per month. SS says I am only entitled to a one time death benefit of 255. I understand that you can not collect both benefits, but am I entitled to the money ( cash or tax credit to be carried forward for many years ) withheld from my wife's earnings for SS and Medicare while we were married? I am not looking for the employer's matching share, just what she paid in during the time we were married. It seems to me that I should be entitled to that money as SS recognizes the institution of marriage. If I am entitled to that money what forms, publications, or other documents should I file and to whom?

Thank you


First off, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is no. Social Security taxes do not go into an individual account. Instead, they go to a general trust fund that is in turn used to pay benefits to eligible beneficiaries. There is no option or provision that allows anyone to request a refund of Social Security taxes that were properly paid based on a person's earnings.

If your wife's potential benefit rate was higher than your disability benefit rate, you could qualify for monthly widower's benefits on her account. Since that's not the case, the only way that you might qualify for widower's benefits in the future is if your disability benefits were to stop for some reason, such as a return to work or medical improvement.

Best, Jerry