How to Keep My Widow Benefits If I Remarry

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The Social Security Administration pays survivor benefits to spouses and children of people who died and paid into the Social Security system through taxes. Even if you are divorced, if the marriage lasted ten years, the widow is eligible to receive benefits after she turns 60. If she has kids from the marriage and they are under 16, she can receive survivor's benefits before age 60. But if she remarries before age 60, she loses her widow's benefits.

Remarry if you have a child with your previous spouse who is disabled; a child who is under the age of 18 or a child under the age of 19 who is still enrolled in high school. While you may lose your widow benefits, a family receiving benefits will often continue to receive the same amount of money because those benefits will shift to the children. There is a limit to how much one family can receive in survivor benefits but often that is redistributed when one beneficiary no longer qualifies. Contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to see if that applies in your situation.

Remarry if you are over the age of 60, or 50 if you qualify for disability benefits. You will not lose widow's benefits if you remarry after that age.

Wait if you are under the age of 60, and receiving widow's benefits is important to you. If you do not have minor children from the first marriage and you marry before the age of 60, you will not receive the benefit after age of 60 unless you again become single through divorce, death or annulment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact the Social Security Administration later in the month and later in the week when call wait times are shorter. Have both yours and your deceased spouse's Social Security numbers on hand. You will be asked a number of security questions.

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