A:

Social Security pays four different types of benefits: retirement, disability, family and survivor. Under survivor benefits, Social Security provides income for the families of workers who die. If you die, certain family members may be eligible for survivors benefits. You have to work a certain number of years to be eligible for survivors benefits; this number depends on your age, but will never be more than 10 years of work. Like retirement benefits, the amount of survivors benefits that your family would receive is based on your average lifetime earnings. The more you have earned, the higher the benefit.

A one-time payment of $255 can be paid to your surviving spouse if he or she was living with you, or if you were living apart and your spouse was receiving certain Social Security benefits on your record. In cases where there is no surviving spouse, the one-time payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased's record in the month of death.

Monthly benefits are available to certain family members, including:

  • A widow(er) age 60 or older (age 50 or older if he or she is disabled)
  • A widow(er) at any age who is caring for the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled
  • An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school), or 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22
  • A stepchild, grandchild, step grandchild or adopted child under certain circumstances
  • Parents, age 62 or older, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support; and
  • A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances

It is recommended to check your Social Security Statement to see an approximate amount of survivors benefits that could be paid, for more information on survivors benefits and how to apply click here.

RELATED FAQS
  1. How do Social Security benefits for widows or widowers work?

    Understand the basics of survivor's benefits for spouses of deceased workers, when you can begin collecting and how your ... Read Answer >>
  2. How do Social Security survivor benefits work?

    Understand the basics of survivor's Social Security benefits, when you can apply, and how your age and relationship to the ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    How to Help Clients Navigate Survivor Benefits

    Here are some ways to help client couples do what they can to maximize any potential Social Security survivor benefits.
  2. Financial Advisor

    A Guide to Social Security Dependent Benefits

    Advisors and their clients tend to focus on Social Security retirement benefits. Social Security also offers dependent benefits. Here's how they work.
  3. Financial Advisor

    The Social Security Blackout Period

    Surviving spouses may experience a blackout period - during which they cannot collect social security benefits - between the time their youngest child turns 16 and they turn 60, with some exceptions. ...
  4. Retirement

    When Do Social Security Benefits Start and End?

    Everything you need to know about the three primary Social Security programs, how they work and who qualifies for them.
  5. Retirement

    The Top 5 Social Security Mistakes to Avoid

    Social Security claiming strategies can be complex. Be sure to avoid these mistakes.
  6. Financial Advisor

    Estate Planning for a Surviving Spouse

    Estate planning for surviving spouses can be difficult for a number of reasons, so it's important to have good support and financial advice.
  7. Retirement

    Three Ways to Get Social Security Benefits

    Here is how Social Security works.
  8. Retirement

    How Social Security Benefits Are Estimated & Taxed

    The Social Security check you'll get depends on your work history, when you start claiming a benefit and these other factors.
  9. Retirement

    Helping Couples Strategize for Social Security

    Even with the elimination of the file-and-suspend option for couples claiming Social Security, there are strategies they can use to maximize benefits.
  10. Retirement

    3 Ways to Get Social Security Benefits

    Social Security isn't just for retirement. Learn about all three benefits provided by the Social Security Administration: retirement, survivor and disability.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Social Security Benefits

    The monetary benefits received by retired workers who have paid ...
  2. Qualified Pre-Retirement Survivor Annuity - QPSA

    A death benefit that is paid to the surviving spouse of a deceased ...
  3. Old Age, Survivors And Disability Insurance Program - OASDI

    The official name for Social Security in the United States. The ...
  4. Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund

    The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, a Social Security ...
  5. Social Security

    A United States federal program of social insurance and benefits ...
  6. Outside Earnings

    Income that temporarily reduces a retired individual's Social ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Investment

    An asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future. In an economic ...
  2. Redlining

    The unethical practice whereby financial institutions make it extremely difficult or impossible for residents of poor inner-city ...
  3. Nonfarm Payroll

    A statistic researched, recorded and reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics intended to represent the total number ...
  4. Conflict Theory

    A theory propounded by Karl Marx that claims society is in a state of perpetual conflict due to competition for limited resources. ...
  5. Inflation-Linked Savings Bonds (I Bonds)

    U.S. government-issued debt securities similar to regular savings bonds, except they offer an investor inflationary protection, ...
  6. Peak Globalization

    Peak globalization is a theoretical point at which the trend towards more integrated world economies reverses or halts.
Trading Center