My husband died. I never worked. Do I get his SSI check?


Q. My husband died in June. I never worked. Do I get his SSI check?
— Widow

A. We’re sorry to hear about your husband.

There are a number of different benefits that are provided by Social Security Administration (SSA) and as a widow, you are most likely entitled to receive a survivor benefit.

This payment might be automatically started when your husband’s death was reported to Social Security. If not, you would need to apply at, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.

“To be eligible for a survivor’s benefit an individual must be at least age 60 and married for at least nine months prior to the death,” she said. “However, a widow(er) of any age caring for a child under age 16 could also qualify for benefits as would someone age 50 (or older) and disabled.”

The amount you would receive for a survivor’s benefit will be equal to the payment being made to your husband as long as you have reached full retirement age (FRA), she said.

For example, those born between 1943 and 1954 reached FRA at age 66.

If you are not sure of your full retirement age please visit the Social Security website, she said.

“If a survivor benefit starts prior to FRA, the amount received will be reduced,” Mott said. “An individual who is aged 60 would receive 71% of the value of the survivor benefit as a payment.”

You asked specifically about getting his SSI check, so we’re guessing he was receiving a disability payment from Social Security.

Those who are disabled may qualify for two different benefits which are overseen by the SSA, Mott said.

“Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides payments to those who qualify medically, have amassed the necessary work history within a recent time frame and paid Social Security taxes on their earnings,” she said. “Those who meet the same disability qualifications but fall below certain thresholds for income and assets may qualify to receive payments through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.”

When an individual is receiving a disability benefit, it “ends” when reaching full retirement age, but the payment converts to a retirement benefit under regular Social Security, Mott said.

If your husband was still receiving SSI that might indicate that he had not reached full retirement age, she said.

You should reach out to Social Security to make sure you understand what benefits you may be eligible for based on your husband’s record.

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This story was originally published in July 2024. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.