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Ask the Experts

Filing for Disability on a Late Husband's Record

Q. My husband died recently. Can I file for disability based on his Social Security work record?

A. As a widow with a disability, you may be able to collect Social Security disability benefits if you are between 50 and 60 and the disability started before your husband's death or within seven years after his death. You can apply online.

Generally, Social Security will consider you disabled if you can demonstrate that:

  • You can't do work that you did before.
  • You can't adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.


Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the
AARP Bulletin.

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