What Are the Requirements to Receive a Widow's Benefits?


Quick Answer

A person applying for widow's benefits needs proof of the worker's death, a birth certificate, and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status, according to the Social Security Administration. Applicants also need military discharge papers if applicable, tax forms, and either a marriage certificate or divorce decree. Those applying for disability benefits need specific forms that describe the medical condition and disclosure authorization.

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Full Answer

Photocopies of tax forms and medical documents are acceptable, but an original birth certificate is necessary, reports the Social Security Administration. It is possible to apply even if all the documents are not readily available, as the Social Security Administration can assist people in acquiring them. Some of the information applicants may need to provide are their names, Social Security numbers, and the dates and places of birth. It is necessary to have the name, gender and Social Security number of the deceased worker, as well as his date of birth, and date and place of death. Other necessary information could include whether the applicant works for the railroad industry and the amount of earnings.

The Social Security Administration recommends that the applicant bring a checkbook or another bank document to sign up for direct deposit. Various other information may be necessary, depending on the answers the applicant provides, states the Social Security Administration.

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