What Must My Mom Do In Order To Get Survivor Benefits In The Event Of My Father's Death?

Dec 2 2017 - 8:05am

Hi Larry, thanks in advance for your assistance. I'm asking this question on behalf of my parents, unmarried. My dad, age 65, is eligible for social security, but my mom, age 63, is not (she doesn't have enough SS credits). What must my mom do in order to get survivor's benefit in case my dad passes away? There is no common law marriage in NY state, so even though they've lived together for decades, they're unmarried. If they get married and stay married 9 months, will that alone make my mom eligible for survivor benefits down the road? Thank you very much.


It sounds like your mother could potentially qualify for spousal and/or widow's benefits if she marries your father. She would likely need to be married for at least a year in order to qualify for spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.03/handbook-0305.html), or at least 9 months to qualify for widow's benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.04/handbook-0401.html).

Best, Jerry