Losing a loved one is one of the most challenging situations anyone can face. But amidst the emotional upheaval, it’s crucial to understand the financial implications and benefits you might be entitled to receive. One such assistance is the Benefits based on your record (when you die) can be paid to your: Widow/widower age 60 or older, 50 or older if disabled, or any age if caring for your child who is under age 16, or who was disabled before age 22. Children, if they are unmarried and under age 18, under 19 but still in school, or 18 or older but they were disabled before age 22. Parents, if you provided at least one-half of their s... More provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Understanding Survivor Benefits: A Comprehensive Guide for 2023
Survivors Benefits are extended to family members when a person who has worked long enough to qualify for Social Security passes away.
This blog post will serve as a guide to understanding the Survivors Benefits.
Eligibility for Survivor Benefits
The first step in the process is understanding who is eligible for these benefits. Typically, the following relatives can be eligible for Survivors Benefits:
- You are the widow/widower of the worker if, at the time he or she died: You and the worker were validly married. You would have the status of a husband or a wife for that person’s personal property if he or she had no will. You went through a marriage ceremony in good faith that would have been valid except for a legal impediment. The minimum age for widows benefits is 60, or 50 if disabled. More or widower: Individuals aged 60 or older (50 or older if disabled), or any age if caring for a The term "child" would be a child that can inherit your personal property under state law. Including adopted child, equitable child, stepchild, dependent grandchild or step-grandchild in your care. More under 16 or disabled.
- Divorced You are the spouse of the worker if: - You and the worker were married at the time you filed for benefits. - You would have the status of a husband or a wife for that person’s personal property if they had no will. - You went through a marriage ceremony in good faith, which would have been valid except for a legal impediment." More: Under certain conditions, a divorced spouse can also receive benefits.
- Children: Unmarried children under 18 (up to 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full-time) can be eligible. Children who were disabled before turning 22 and remain disabled can also receive benefits.
- Dependent parents: If the deceased person’s parents were dependent on them for at least half of their support, they can qualify for benefits at age 62 or older.
How to Apply for Survivor Benefits
If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to one of our representatives between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also contact your local Social Security office.
What to Expect from Survivor Benefits
Survivors Benefits are based on the earnings of the person who died. The more they paid into Social Security, the higher the benefits would be. The amount you receive is a percentage of the deceased’s basic Social Security benefit and can range from 75% to 100% based on your relationship with the deceased and other factors.
While the process may feel overwhelming, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to navigate it alone. Understanding your rights and responsibilities, and seeking professional help if needed, can go a long way in managing this challenging time.
The Social Security Administration website provides a wealth of information to help you understand the Survivors Benefits process. Visit the SSA Survivors Benefits page for more detailed information, and remember, professional help is always available to guide you through the process.
Survivors Benefit Amount
Social Security Survivor Benefits can be a significant source of support following the death of a loved one, but the exact amount you can expect to receive depends on several factors:
Deceased’s Earnings: The amount of Survivor Benefits is primarily determined by the deceased individual’s A chronological history of the amount of money you earned each year during your working lifetime. You can view your lifetime earnings with a personal my Social Security account. More and how much they paid into Social Security. The more they paid into Social Security, the higher the benefits would typically be.
Beneficiary’s Relationship to the Deceased: The percentage of the deceased’s full retirement benefit that a survivor can receive depends on their relationship to the deceased and their age:
- Widow or widower at When you work, you pay into Social Security and earn credits, if you have earned enough credits you will be insured and eligible for Social Security Disability. There is not a insured requirement for disability through Supplemental Security Income (SSI). More or older – 100% of the deceased’s benefit amount.
- Widow or widower between age 60 and full retirement age – 71½ to 99% of the deceased’s basic amount.
- Disabled widow or widower aged 50 through 59 – 71.5% of the deceased’s benefit.
- Widow or widower, any age, caring for a child under age 16 – 75% of the deceased’s benefit amount.
- Children under age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) – 75% of the deceased’s benefit.
- Dependent parents age 62 or older – 75-82.5% of the deceased’s benefit if one parent is eligible and 82.5-100% if both parents are eligible.
Maximum Family Amount: There’s a limit to the amount of money that can be paid out to a family. The Social Security Administration uses a complex formula to calculate this maximum family amount, but generally, the total depends on the deceased’s benefit amount and the number of family members eligible for benefits. It typically ranges from 150 to 180% of the deceased’s benefit rate.
Note: If a surviving spouse is eligible for both their own retirement benefits and survivor benefits, they can choose to receive the retirement benefits first and switch to survivor benefits at full retirement age, which may result in a higher combined benefit amount.