Social Security - Survivor and Family Limitations



C. Survivor
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits when an individual covered by Social Security dies. They include:


  1. A widow or widower who is:
    • 60 or older; or
    • 50 or older and disabled; or
    • Any age if he or she is caring for the covered person's child who is younger than 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits on the covered person's record.
  2. Unmarried children
    • Younger than 18; or
    • Between 18 and 19, but in an elementary or secondary school as full-time students; or
    • Age 18 or older and severely disabled (the disability must have started before age 22).
  3. Dependent parents - Parents who were dependent upon a child for at least half of their support at the time of the child's death are eligible for survivor benefits.
  4. Death payment - A spouse or minor children may be paid a one-time death benefit of $255 upon the death of a covered individual.

D. Family limitations
There is a limit on the amount of retirement, disability or survivor benefits payable to an entire family based on any one worker's record. This limit is known as the maximum family benefit.

Eligible children receive up to one-half of a parent's full benefit, but the maximum family benefit is usually between 150-180% of the of the covered person's benefit.
III. How Benefits Are Calculated


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