Can I File For Widow's Benefits Now?

Jul 26 2016 - 1:00pm

Hello Larry. I am 60 years old and a widow and disable, Can I apply for my husbands benefits now. We were married for 9.5 years.

Hi,

Assuming you weren't divorced from your husband when he died, and aren't remarried if the remarriage occurred before you turned age 60, and if your husband worked under Social Security long enough to be insured, then yes you can file for reduced widow's benefits as early as age 60. However, you must be married for at least 10 years to qualify for surviving divorced spousal benefits. See this link for more information: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou2.html. Also, there is a limit on how much you can earn and still receive reduced benefits, but that shouldn't affect you if you're disabled.

If you are already entitled to Social Security disability benefits on your own record, there is likely no disadvantage to filing for an excess reduced widow's if you are eligible. In that case, the reduction you take for filing early would be removed when you reach full retirement age.

If you've worked long enough to qualify for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, and haven't yet applied for them and you aren't working, you should definitely file for SSDI ASAP. Social Security disability benefits are unreduced, so there is no reason to delay taking them if you are eligible.

Best, Jerry