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US Government Information/social security benefits for common law widow

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Question
A friend of mine recently lost her common law husband who was receiving social security disability benefits.  He was 59.  She is now having trouble making her mortgage payments without his benefits.  She receives disability benefits and is 64 years old.  Is there a widow benefit she could apply for?

Answer
Yes  there can be a widow benefit payable to a surviving common law spouse if she resided in a state that recognizes common law. Here is a link to Arate laws and Social Security policy.

https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200305075

Her disability benefit must be less than his full age retirement benefit. If  it is, she should have filed the month he died. The benefit is reduced for age but only until she is age 66 because she receives disability. This is an error prone area for Social Security so be aware that she could be given incorrect information.  

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Darlene Oldendick

Expertise

Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.

Experience

Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years

Publications
http://www.socialsecurityadviceonline.com

Education/Credentials
33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

Awards and Honors
Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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