Q:  Will my 16-year-old daughter and I continue to receive any part of my husband’s Social Security disability benefits now that he has passed away?

A:  Social Security provides benefits to widows based either on their role as a caregiver or based on retirement.  Unless your 16-year old daughter is disabled, you will no longer receive benefits as her caregiver.  However, young widows with dependent children in their care receive caregiver benefits until the youngest child reaches age 16.  A dependency benefit remains payable to a child until he or she reaches age 18 (19 if still attending a high school or other secondary school).  A child who becomes disabled prior to reaching age 22 can receive benefits as long as the child remains under a disability.  Moreover, a mother caring for a disabled adult child remains entitled to a benefit as long as the child remains in her care.  So, if your daughter is disabled, you may still be able to qualify for benefits as her caregiver.

Other than caregiver benefits, no monthly benefit is payable to a widow until she reaches age 60.  If you are still unmarried at that time, you will be eligible for a widow’s benefit based on your deceased husband’s Social Security record.  However, if you become disabled, you can qualify for disabled widow’s benefits as early as age 50.  If you remarry after age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you will remain entitled to a widow’s benefit based on your first marriage.