How Does a Widow Apply to Receive Benefits From Social Security?


Quick Answer

Widows can apply for survivor benefits from Socially Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by calling or applying in person at a local Social Security office, as of 2015. Applicants can locate local offices using the Social Security Office Locator on the Social Security Administration website.

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Full Answer

Widows who are already receiving benefits on their spouse's record must report the death to the Social Security Administration to have their current benefits changed to survivor benefits. These individuals may also be eligible for an additional special lump sum death benefit. Widows receiving retirement or disability benefits on their own records must apply for survivor benefits. These benefits may be higher than their current benefits. Widows who are not receiving any benefits from the Social Security Administration also have to apply.

The Social Security Administration may require proof of death, the Social Security numbers of the deceased person and widow, the birth certificate of the widow and the marriage licence to process a Lump-Sum Death Benefit or Widows, Widowers, Or Surviving Divorced Spouse Benefits application. Additional information, such as proof of U.S. citizenship and Social Security numbers and birth certificates for dependent children, may also be required. The Social Security Administration does not provide online applications for survivor benefits, but applicants may check the status of a pending application through its website.

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