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US Government Information/Spousal Social Security Benefit filing


Hello, I am writing this for my 80 yr old mother.  My question concerns social security spousal benefits. She has never filed to receive benefits on my father’s social security and is considering doing so.

My father and she were married for 20 years and neither one ever remarried.  My mother only receives $823 a month in social security benefits. Since she qualifies for so little, and has a lot of medical ailments, she has been deemed “medically needy” and gets a lot of financial assistance with her medical care ( medicare and medicaid). It is really a struggle for her financially, which is sad at her age and stage of life.

My father passed away in November of 2013. He was receiving social security benefits in the amount of $1534 a month.  My mother is afraid to file for spousal benefits because she’s not certain if she will qualify for the full amount of $1534 or a lesser amount?

Is there any way to know how much my mother would definitely qualify for - without officially filing? If it will only be an extra $250 dollars a month – it’s not worth it and will hurt her by causing her to just make enough to lose her “medically needy” status. If it will be an extra $700 a month though – that may afford her enough money to have the  opportunity to attain better health insurance options.

If you have any suggestions or know where we could go for assistance with this matter – it would be greatly appreciated. Please excuse the wordiness in this long post. Thank you for your time & consideration.


She should receive an additional surviving divorced spouse benefit that is the difference between his higher benefit and the benefit she receives from her work record.  If he retired early and received an age reduced benefit, it could be a little more.  She will get six months of back pay.

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Darlene Oldendick


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


Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years


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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