Sections 202(e)(1) (42 U.S.C. 402(e)(1) — Filing For All Benefits — Widow's Insurance Benefits

SSR 71-52

20 CFR 404.328 and 404.601

Where claimant's application in 1965 for retirement insurance benefits was denied for lack of insured status, and then, in 1970, upon her application for widow's insurance benefits, it was discovered that she had met all conditions of entitlement to widow's benefits at the time of her 1965 application, held, since the application for retirement benefits was an application for all social security benefits pursuant to the 1965 application, claimant is entitled to widow's benefits based on the 1965 application.

W, the worker, born May 7, 1903, filed application for retirement insurance benefits on her own earnings record in August 1965. The application contained a statement that she was applying for "all insurance benefits payable under Title II of the Social Security Act." Her claim was denied for lack of insured status, i.e., she had not worked long enough in work covered by the Act. No appeal was taken from this denial.

In February 1970 W filed for retirement benefits and was found to be non-insured. However, she filed an application for widow's insurance benefits, which was granted. W contended, however, that entitlement existed from August 1965, the date of her initial application for all benefits due her, since that was the first month in which she met all other conditions of entitlement for widow's benefits. She further indicated she was unaware in 1965 that her husband had died fully insured.

The general issue concerns W's date of entitlement to widow's insurance benefits. A further specific question is whether W's entitlement to widow's benefits was also adjudicated by the initial denial of her application for retirement benefits in 1965, from which she took no appeal. If it was, the initial determination cannot now be opened, more than 4 years having elapsed. (Section 404.957 of Social Security Administration Regulations No. 4 (20 CFR 404.957.)

Section 202(e)(1) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 402(e)(1) provides, as here pertinent, that the widow of a worker who died fully insured, who is not married, has attained age 60, and has filed application for widow's insurance benefits shall be entitled to benefits beginning with the first month in which she becomes entitled, i.e., in this case, the month of her application.

The notification sent to W concerning her application in August 1965 obviously resulted from an adjudication of her lack of entitlement to retirement benefits on her earnings record. It was not an adjudication of her lack of entitlement to any other benefits to which she may have been entitled under the Act, such as widow's insurance benefits. According to the undisputed facts, neither W nor the Administration was aware at the time that she met all requirements of entitlement to widow's benefits on her deceased husband's earning record. Had this been known, doubtless she would have been granted widow's benefits in 1965 on the basis of her application for all benefits payable under Title II of the Act. Since W's first application filed in August 1965 was also a claim for widow's insurance benefits, upon which no adjudicative action was then taken, no further application was required.

Accordingly, W's initial application in 1965 for her own retirement benefits was properly denied for lack of quarters of coverage. However, that application with respect to widow's benefits was not adjudicated and W was required to file no further application for such benefits. Thus, the application of 1965 was still open for adjudication insofar as it applied to widow's benefits.

Accordingly, based upon W's application of August 1965, it is held that W is entitled to widow's insurance benefits effective with the first month she met all conditions of eligibility, i.e., August 1965.

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