5 Best Financial Help Agencies for Widows

While this can impact both sexes, women tend to outlive men, and men tend to out-earn women.

So the economic impact falls disproportionately on widows.

Fortunately, financial assistance for widows is out there.

Little to none of it lasts forever, but it can be a lifeline for those who suddenly find themselves in need.

It’s about more than finding sources of money.

Learning to manage your money, obtaining professional help if you start sinking in debt.

And knowing how the financial decisions you make affect Social Security are part of the equation.

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What Financial Help is Available for Widows?

Before reaching out for assistance, widows need to know what they have.

Not only from their deceased spouse’s personal life insurance policies and savings accounts.

But through his former employer.

Find out what he had in retirement accounts and if he had a life insurance policy through the company.

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Financial Help Agencies for Widows

Financial Help Agencies for Widows can be found through several government agencies.

Nonprofit organizations, churches and community groups in the form of grants for low-income widows.

And professional financial guidance that includes debt management advice.

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Financial Help Agencies for Widows

Of course, the most obvious place to seek help is from those closest to you: your family.

A single child can give a widowed mother up to $14,000 with no tax ramifications either way.

If the child is married, the limit jumps to $28,000.

Family members also might provide a loan at no or low interest.

Naturally, any such loan should have repayment terms written out.

That helps avoid both hurt feelings and more complicated problems.

When the widow dies and her will goes to probate.

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Financial Help Agencies for Widows

1. Social Security Widow Benefits

Social Security is an important resource available, but to claim them, you must make an appointment with the local SSA office. You can’t apply for benefits online. Monthly Social Security benefits may be available to a widow or widower age 60 or older (50 or older if disabled), a surviving divorced spouse in some circumstances and a widow/widower of any age who is caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and already receiving benefits. If the deceased worked long enough under Social Security, the widow/widower can receive full benefits at the full retirement age or reduced benefits as young as 60. The amount of the benefit depends on the earnings of the deceased. The more they paid into Social Security, the greater the benefits.

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2. Grants for Widows

Let’s start with the bad news: There are no government grants specifically for people who lose a spouse. There are, however, grants to address specific needs, including needs that the widowed often encounter. A good place to start is www.benefits.gov, which provides links to government benefits in every state.

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Financial Help Agencies for Widows

3. Charities and Church Assistance for Widows

Most of the nonprofit organizations, churches and community groups that offer assistance to widows can be found online. They usually offer help on a one-time basis for things like food, housing, clothing, furniture and other basic needs.

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4. Financial Help Agencies for Widows

Some grants are available through private organizations. The Liz Logelin Foundation (www.thelizlogelinfoundation.org) provides short-term financial help to young families with dependent children during the first year after death to assist with rent or a house payment, utility bills, a child’s activity fees, lessons, school clothes, a special family outing or gifts for the children. The Ted Lindeman Outreach Foundation (www.tedlindemanoutreachfoundation.com) has a similar program.

Many Catholic churches have a ministry called the St. Vincent de Paul Society that deals specifically with people in a financial crisis. Their assistance usually is on a one-time-only basis for needs such as rent, utilities and food.

Not all the needs are financial, and there are organizations that help with the social and emotional loss of widowhood, including The Modern Widows Club, The Widow Connection, Hope for Widows Foundation and The Sisterhood of Widows. The Widow Project is a similar organization for military widows.

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5. Financial Assistance for Widows of Veterans

When military personnel die as a result of their service, their spouses are entitled to a death gratuity, which currently is $100,000. It is free from federal and state income taxes for any service member who dies while on active duty or while performing authorized travel to or from active duty.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors or veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

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Obviously, losing a spouse is difficult. Finding people to help you navigate the issues you’ll face will go a long way of making things better.

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