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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20358
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp. with Estate Law issues
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I wasn't aware that I was entitled to widow's benefits until

Customer Question

I wasn't aware that I was entitled to widow's benefits until I applied for my own Soc. Sec benefit. At the time I applied for my own benefit (July 2015) I was contacted by Soc. Sec and told that I was entitled to widow's benefits but only going back 6 months from the time I applied for my own benefits. I recently realized I would have been entitled to widow's benefits beginning in 2010 when my ex-husband died. We had been married for more than 10 years. I have received widow's benefits from December 2014 and will receive them until I start receiving my own benefit in Nov. 2015. Is there any way I can file for the years I was entitled to but didn't know I was entitled to? I've been told by Soc. Security that they will only go back 6 months from the time I filed. The benefit I was entitled to but didn't receive amounts to about $50,000.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.


Thank you for the information and your question and I am sorry to read about your situation. Unfortunately, the SSA is bound by statute and regulation. In other words, they cannot make exceptions. There are no exceptions or provisos for people who do not know the rules for surviving spouse benefits. The retroactive period is set up to 6 months prior to application as long as the qualifying event occurred at least that far back. You can see this information in their manual at the following link:

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 6th. For some unknown reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.