Increased disabled breadwinners and their survivors led to the development of a generous pension program after the Civil War. This program later developed into Social Security.
Spousal Social Security is a government program that helps a spouse continue to support a family when a breadwinner is retired, disabled or deceased.
If you are eligible to receive your spouse's retirement benefits as well as your own, Social Security will always pay yours first.
A spouse of a deceased worker can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of a child or children entitled to a child's benefit and are younger than age 16 or disabled.
A spouse applying for Spouse Social Security should apply as soon as possible. However, benefits will not start for more than four months into the future.