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Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 12663
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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I lost my husband November 1998..never remarried...I have a

Customer Question

I lost my husband November 1998..never remarried...I have a lifetime survivor benefit from his work with Federal Service...I would like to know if I am able to collect a portion of his social security...
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: No...that is it..
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 9 months ago.

Hi. My name's Lane. I can help here.


Yes, you can. As long as (1) YOU never worked in a non-social security position (a state government system, local government - or federal government system such as civil service where no money was ever paid into social security), and


(2) He worked in a system that paid into social security for a least 40 quarters (10 years).


See this from Social Security here:


"These are examples of the benefits that survivors may receive:

  • Widow or widower, full retirement age or older -- 100 percent of the deceased worker's benefit amount;
  • Widow or widower, age 60 -- full retirement age -- 71½ to 99 percent of the deceased worker's basic amount;"


You'll need to apply for the survivor benefit.


By calling 1-***-***-****, you can use our automated telephone services to get recorded information and conduct some business 24 hours a day.Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday.


If you'll call and tell the representative that you want to apply for the survivors benefit, they will tell you what documents you need (likely your birth certificate and your marriage certificate) and then either have you send that documentation to the local Social Security Field office OR (and I recommend this) set an appointment to take the documentation into the local office.


We've had cases where sending the documentation in, either resulted in a longer wait time OR the documents being lost.


If you DO prefer to call and then send the documents in, I'd recommend you use FedEx or Certified mail so that you'll have proof of delivery.

Expert:  Lane replied 9 months ago.

Please let me know if you have ANY questions at all, before rating me

But if this has helped, and you don’t have other questions, I would appreciate a positive rating (using those stars on your screen – and clicking submit)

That’s the only way JustAnswer will compensate me for the work here.



I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in finance, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986.