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Date Add : 09-08-2009 

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Social Security Question:

Widower's Benefits

Social Security Answer:

My mother in law was married in 1968. They seperated approx 1971 but never remarried. She was with someone else but they never got divorced. Her husband died in 2002. The Soc Sec dept informed her to file for DeathBenefits and then denied her due to "Estoppel" for being seperated from her husband all these years and living with someone else. Is there any other legal alternative that she may have to collect her benefits? She is residing now in the state of Tennessee.
Thank you

Support Replied ~ 07-08-2009 19:27:27

Dear Haydee:
I know that the Lump Sum benefit ($255) will not be paid to a seperated spouse, but I never heard of someone being denied because they lived with someone else. She could not be considered married to the other person because she was not free to marry until he died in 2002. I am not sure about the state laws of Tennessee but she should have a full explanation of why she was denied widows benefits. You should call your local office and have her tell them that you are her representative and that they can explain the situation to you. You can always refile and get a new
explanation of why she was denied. And then if you want, if she is denied again,
file a hearing before a law judge within 60 days of the denial. The judge can overrule any previous ruling....Good Luck.....Carol

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DISCLAIMER - You should consult with your local Social Security Office before acting upon any information received as a response to your question on "Social Security Advisor".

"Social Security Advisor" is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is offered with the understanding that neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, investment or other professional advice or services.

Information obtained from, including e-mail responses from "Social Security Advisor" should be considered as general educational information. You must never rely upon the advice given here. Your individual situation may not fit the generalizations discussed. Only your local Social Security office can evaluate your individual situation and give you advice.

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