Preparing to apply for disabled widow’s and widower’s benefits

When you apply for disabled widow’s or widower’s benefits with the Social Security Administration, you will need to provide quite a bit of information at your appointment. The SSA explains that if you have all the information at hand, your appointment will go smoother and quicker. However, if you cannot gather it all before the interview, the SSA representative can help you to get what you need. 

Here is what you can expect the SSA to request at your appointment. 

Documentation

Before you go to the appointment, fill out the forms that release your information to the SSA and provide a description of your disability. You can provide copies of your medical documents along with these forms. You can also provide copies of your past year’s W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns. 

Proof of your eligibility may include your spouse’s death certificate, your birth certificate and the marriage certificate. You also need to prove that you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful alien. Bring the originals, not copies, of these to show the SSA representative. 

Questions

The representative at the interview will ask you for the following information about your spouse: 

  • Name and gender 
  • Social Security number 
  • Dates and locations of all marriages, including how, when and where past marriages ended 
  • Dates of birth and death 
  • Place of death 
  • State of residence at time of death 

You will also need to tell the representative if your spouse filed for Medicare, Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income, and whether you or anyone else has filed for these on your behalf. Other questions regarding you and your spouse involve eligibility for pensions and annuities, earnings during the past year and in years since 1978, active military service and medical conditions that led to inability to work. 

You may also have to answer follow-up questions, depending on your answers.