SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home408. When will you NOT receive widow(er)'s insurance benefits?

Widow(er)'s insurance benefits may not be payable for some months if any of the conditions below apply:

  1. You are under full retirement age (as defined in 723.5), working, and earning more than the annual exempt amount (see §1803);

  2. You are under full retirement age and working outside the United States (U.S.) for more than 45 hours in a month (see §1823);

  3. You are an alien who is outside the U.S. for more than six full calendar months in a row and you do not meet an exception to the alien nonpayment provisions or do not meet the additional U.S. residency requirements for dependents and survivors. (see §1843-1846). For information on payments while you are outside the U.S., see “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.html and the Payment Abroad Screening Tool at www.ssa.gov/international/payments_outsideUS.html;

  4. You are in a U.S. Treasury restricted country where we cannot send U.S. Government payments (see §1847-1849). For information on payments while you are outside the U.S., see “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.html;

  5. You are in an SSA restricted country and do not meet an exception (see §1847-1849). For information on payments while you are outside the U.S., see “Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States” at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10137.html;

  6. You are an alien who is outside the U.S., and you were deported;

  7. You are entitled to a government pension (Federal, State, or a political subdivision of a State not covered by Social Security) based of your own employment and:

    1. The entitlement requires offset against the Social Security payment; and

    2. The exceptions in §1836 do not apply;

  8. You are confined within the U.S. to a correctional institution for more than 30 continuous days, as a result of a conviction of a criminal offense or a court of competent jurisdiction issues a verdict, finding or a ruling that declares you are:

    • guilty, but insane with respect to a criminal offense;

    • not guilty of such a criminal offense by reason of insanity;

    • incompetent to stand trial under an allegation of a criminal offense;

    • determined to have a similar verdict or finding with respect to a criminal offense based on similar factors (such as mental disease, mental defect or mental incompetence) and

    you are confined to an institution at public expense for more than 30 continuous days;

    or

    Immediately upon completion of confinement in a correctional institution (confinement in the correctional institution was based on a crime; an element of which was sexual activity), you are confined by court order to an institution for more than 30 continuous days, at public expense because you were determined to be a sexually dangerous person or a sexual predator or similar finding (see §1850.1- 1850.3).

    You have an unsatisfied Federal, State or international law enforcement warrant for more than 30 continuous days for a crime, or attempted crime, of flight to avoid prosecution or confinement, escape from custody and flight-escape. In most jurisdictions these crimes are felonies or, in jurisdictions that do not classify crimes as felonies, a crime that is punishable by death or imprisonment for more than one year (regardless of the actual sentence imposed.

  9. You do not have a Social Security Number, and you refuse to apply for one; or

  10. You are in the U.S., and you are neither a U.S. citizen nor an alien lawfully present.

The conditions regarding nonpayment of benefits are explained in more detail in Chapter 18.

Last Revised: Aug. 8, 2011