One payroll deduction many employees see on their pay stubs contributes to a disability fund for Social Security, providing them with financial benefits should they become disabled to the point of being unable to work.

According to Benefits.Gov, Social Security Disability contributions from one person’s work record may provide financial SSD benefits to that person’s widow or widower depending on the situation.

Age requirements for claiming widowed spouse SSD benefits

A widow or widower may choose to wait before claiming Social Security Disability benefits on her or his deceased spouse’s record until reaching the designated age of retirement. They may, however, choose to claim SSD benefits prior to that time should they meet all of the criteria. This option may be available to people in their 50s. When exercising this option, the widow or widower may receive a reduced benefit amount than if they waited until they reached retirement age.

Disability timeline relative to spouse’s death

The Social Security Administration explains that a widow’s or widower’s disability must commence or occur within seven years from the date on which the spouse passed away in order to qualify to receive SSD benefits based on the spouse’s work record.

Regular Social Security benefits for widows and widowers

In addition to Social Security Disability benefits, a widow or widower may qualify to receive standard Social Security benefits based on a deceased spouse’s work record. For either type of benefit, the widow or widower may wish to compare the benefits received from the spouse’s record with those received from her or his own record to determine which provides the most benefits.