SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home515. How is “disability” defined for determining entitlement for disabled widow(er)'s and surviving divorced spouse's benefits?

For title II, the definition of "disability" for determining your entitlement to disabled widow(er)'s or surviving divorced spouse's benefits is the same as for disabled workers in §507.1. This definition applies to disabled widow(er)'s and surviving divorced spouse's benefits payable January 1991, or later.

(For a further explanation of how disability is evaluated, see Chapter 6).

NOTE: The following may not be used to establish disabled widow(er)'s or disabled surviving divorced spouse's benefits:

  1. Impairments or the aggravation of preexisting impairments related to the commission of a felony after October 19, 1980, for which you are convicted; or

  2. Impairments or the aggravation of preexisting impairments related to your confinement for committing such a crime.

Last Revised: Sep. 3, 2009