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Widow’s Benefits

May 25, 2023

By Thomas McCutcheon

Widows’ Benefits Under Social Security

To qualify for widows’ benefits under the Social Security Administration rules the first requirement is that the marriage must have lasted for 10 or more years and the deceased spouse must have worked and paid into social security (what you see deducted from your paycheck as FICA) for those 10 or more years. Secondly, the widow (or widower) must be 50 or older and the deceased spouse must have died within 7 years of the claim for benefits.

What you are really looking at is a comparison between two earnings records to see who would draw the largest amount per month of social security benefits. The more money you earn the more money you pay into social security and the more money you pay into social security the more money you get back every month up to a maximum amount that changes typically every year. People who make over $110,100 a year do not have to contribute to social security on earnings above that amount. Those people get a raise every year at the point where they have paid their FICA taxes on the first $110,100 they made and do not have to pay any more after that.

If a husband’s earnings are higher than a wife’s and the wife is disabled and 50, an application for widows’ benefits should be filed and it should be granted giving the wife the benefit of the husband’s payments into the social security system.

If the date of the death and the age of 50 are separated by more than 7 years, the surviving spouse will not be able to draw off of the other’s earning record.

One thing McCutcheon & Hamner does that is a little different than what some other law firms do that handle social security disability claims is we file initial Social Security Disability application for our clients. We feel that this helps focus the case for a positive resolution and we also realize that helping people from the beginning gives us a loyal client.

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