Survivor's Social Security Benefits
Social Security offers benefits to survivors if the deceased worker earned the required number of Social Security credits (usually 40 which is equal to 10 years of work) and meets certain criteria.
- Widow/Widower can receive full benefits at age 65 when born before 1940
- if born after 1940, the age for benefits is 67
- Reduced benefits are available at age 60
- if disabled, benefits can begin at age 50
- Unmarried children younger than 18 (or 19 if in school full time) can receive benefits
- if disabled before age 22 and remain disabled, they can also receive benefits
- stepchildren, adopted children and grandchildren may also be eligible for benefits
- Widow/Widower will receive benefits if taking care of deceased's child under age 16 or disabled
- Former wife/husband for more than 10 years of deceased, age 60 or older, can receive benefits
- age 50 if disabled
- length-of-marriage rule nullified if former spouse is caring for deceased's natural or legally adopted child under age 16 or disabled
- Dependant parents of deceased over age 62 can receive benefits if the deceased provided at least ½ of their support
- To find out if you qualify for Social Security benefits, contact your local Social Security office.
Lump Sum Death Benefit
If the deceased worked long enough to be insured under the Social Security program, a lump-sum death benefit of $225 can be paid to the surviving spouse. This is true even if the insured was not receiving disability or retirement benefits at the time of death.
In order to receive the benefit, the spouse had to have been living with the beneficiary at the time of death or be eligible for Social Security benefits on their earning record for the month of death if living apart.
If there is no living spouse, the payment can be made to a child eligible for benefits on the earning's record in the month of death.
If there is no child or spouse that meets these requirements, the lump-sum will not be paid.
In order to receive this benefit, you must file an application for the lump-sum death payment within two years of the insured person's death.