Am I Eligible for Social Security as a Surviving Spouse?

Many clients think of Social Security only as a retirement benefit, but there are many ways one can qualify for other benefits that are available via the program.  If a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse may be eligible to receive a benefit.  This benefit helps alleviate the financial burden of losing an income earner or the home duties that the deceased spouse was responsible for previously.

Has your spouse (ex-spouse) passed away?

If you answered “yes”, move on to the next question.  If your spouse (ex-spouse) is not deceased, you may still be eligible for other benefits.  See the “Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Spouse?” flowchart here.

Did a divorced spouse pass away?

If your ex-spouse passed away and you have a child collecting dependent care benefits, or you did not remarry, you may be eligible for survivor benefits or an amount of your ex-spouse’s Social Security retirement benefit.  If you were not divorced, move on to the next question.

Were you married at least 9 months?

If you answered “yes,” move on to the next question.  If you were not married for 9 months or more, you would not be eligible for spousal survivor benefits.

Did you remarry?

If you did not remarry, you are eligible for Social Security benefits based on your deceased spouse’s earnings record.  If you did remarry before 60, you will not be eligible for benefits from your deceased spouse, but rather will likely be eligible for benefits from your current spouse’s record.

Collecting Social Security benefits as a surviving spouse can be crucial to alleviating your financial burden, and there are a lot of different requirements.  Check out this flowchart to learn more.

If you would like to schedule a call to talk about the best strategies for Social Security, please give us a call at 303-440-2906 or click here to schedule a time to speak with us.

Robert J. Pyle, CFP®, CFA is president of Diversified Asset Management, Inc. (DAMI). DAMI is licensed as an investment adviser with the State of Colorado Division of Securities, and its investment advisory representatives are licensed by the State of Colorado. DAMI will only transact business in other states to the extent DAMI has made the requisite notice filings or obtained the necessary licensing in such state. No follow up or individualized responses to persons in other jurisdictions that involve either rendering or attempting to render personalized investment advice for compensation will be made absent compliance with applicable legal requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. It does not constitute investment or tax advice. To contact Robert, call 303-440-2906 or e-mail


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