As of 2015, widows older than 65 years receive full survivor benefits, says the National Caregivers Library. Widows aged between 60 and 64 years can receive between 71 and 94 percent of the benefits. Widows with children under 16 years can receive 75 percent of the benefits.
Widows and widowers can begin to receive full benefits at the full retirement age of 66 or 67, depending on the year the survivor was born, according to the Social Security Administration. Survivors can begin to receive reduced benefits at the age of 50. Survivors who take care of a child of the deceased spouse can begin to receive benefits at any age. The child must be receiving Social Security benefits, be younger than 16 or be disabled, says the SSA.
Widows who remarry before the age of 60 may lose eligibility to survivor benefits, according to the National Caregivers Library. Survivors who are disabled may start receiving full benefits between the ages 50 and 60.
Widow survivor benefits begin on the day after the death of the spouse, notes the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The widow is only eligible if the deceased was an employee covered under the Federal Employees Retirement System. If the OPM cannot pay benefits to a widow because of the entitlement of a former spouse, annuities for the widow begin the day the former spouse loses her entitlement.