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Survivors Benefits For Your Widow Or Widower

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You probably know people who are receiving Social Security survivors benefits because they're a widow or widower. At present, there are about 5 million widows and widowers receiving monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse's earnings record. And, for many of those survivors, particularly aged women, those benefits are keeping them out of poverty.

  • Your widow or widower who has not remarried can receive full benefits at full retirement age or older or reduced benefits as early as age 60.

  • Your widow or widower can begin receiving benefits as early as age 50 if he or she is disabled.

  • Your widow or widower can receive survivors benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is under age 16 or is disabled and receives benefits on your record.

Please note: If your widow or widower will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, his or her Social Security benefit on your record may be affected.

Select one of the links below to get information about


Full retirement age for Survivors is increasing from 65 to 67


Note: Survivors born on January 1st of any year should refer to the previous year.

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Last reviewed or modified Tuesday Jul 22, 2008
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