Dear Dr. Don,
My wife and I have been married for six years. If I got sick and passed away, would my wife qualify for my Social Security benefits when she gets to retirement age? I am 49 years old and she is 50.
-- Dwight Dowager
A spouse can qualify for widow's or widower's Social Security benefits if he or she was married to the deceased worker for at least nine months before the worker died. There are some situations when a spouse would qualify for benefits in less than nine months. Since you've been with your bride for six years, you're well past that nine-month standard.
You may have confused the marriage question with how long a divorced spouse had to be married (10 years) to the ex in order to claim benefits (provided he or she didn't later remarry).
The Social Security Web page, "Survivors Benefits For Your Widow Or Widower" explains which benefits she would receive if you should die early:
So, you can stop worrying about Social Security benefits and making it to your 10th anniversary -- enjoy your seventh year of marriage!
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