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How Social Security works when a spouse or ex-spouse dies | Prime Living

Savvy Senior


Last updated 10/20/2021 at 6:31pm

Dear Savvy Senior,

Who qualifies for Social Security survivor benefits? My ex-husband died last year, so I would like to find out if I or my 17-year-old daughter are eligible for anything.

– Divorced Survivor

Dear Divorced,

If your ex-husband worked and paid Social Security taxes, and you and/or your daughter meet the eligibility requirements, you may very well be eligible for survivor benefits, but you should act quickly because benefits are generally retroactive only up to six months. Here’s what you should know.

Under Social Security law, when a person who has worked and paid Socia...

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