FOR LAWYERS

Survivors Benefits

Surviving dependents of qualifying deceased workers may be eligible for Social Security benefits. In this article, we explain how Social Security survivors benefits work, including who is eligible and how to apply. 

Key Takeaways

  • Survivors benefits are paid to the spouses, ex-spouses, children, and parents of deceased workers eligible for Social Security benefits
  • Qualifying spouses and children can also receive a one-time lump sum death payment
  • Survivors must call the Social Security Administration to report a death and apply for survivors benefits 

What Are Survivors Benefits?

Social Security survivors benefits are benefits paid to the widows, widowers, and dependents of eligible workers. Some of the taxes that workers pay into Social Security are intended for survivors benefits. As such, a worker’s spouse, children, and parents may be eligible for benefits based on their earnings.

In addition to monthly survivors benefits, qualifying spouses and children can receive a lump sum death payment of $255. They must apply for this payment within two years of the worker’s death. 

Who Is Eligible for Survivors Benefits?

In order to be eligible for survivors benefits, one must be the widow/widower, child, parent, or ex-spouse of a qualifying worker. The requirements are as follows.

Widows and Widowers

In order to be eligible for survivors benefits, widows and widowers must be:

  • Age 60 or over OR
  • Age 50 or over if disabled OR
  • Any age for individuals caring for a child of the deceased worker if the child is under 16 years old or disabled

Depending on the circumstances, widow’s/widower’s benefits range from 71.5 to 100% of the late spouse’s Social Security benefit.

Children

In order to be eligible for survivors benefits, children must be:

  • Under 18 years old OR
  • Up to 19 years and 2 months old if still in high school full-time OR
  • Any age if disabled from before turning 22 years old
  • Unmarried

Qualifying children can receive 75% of their late parent’s benefit.

Parents

In order to be eligible for survivors benefits, parents must:

  • Be age 62 or older
  • Have been financially dependent on their child

Qualifying parents receive 82.5% of the deceased worker’s benefit, or 75% each if both parents qualify. 

Divorced Spouses

In order to be eligible for survivors benefits, divorced spouses must be:

  • Age 60 or over OR
  • Age 50 or over if disabled OR
  • Any age for individuals caring for a child of the deceased worker if the child is under 16 years old or disabled
  • The marriage must have lasted 10 years or longer

Applying for Survivors Benefits

Survivors may not apply for survivors benefits online. In order to report a death or apply for benefits, one must call the Social Security Administration and speak to a representative. In many cases, the funeral home reports the worker’s death to the SSA. For them to do so, the survivors must give the funeral home the deceased person’s Social Security number.

Featured Social Security Disability Lawyers

Lorenzo & Lorenzo

Google rating
4.4
35 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Criminal Defense, DUI Law, Medical Malpractice, Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
View Profile

Phelps Dennis L

Google rating
4.4
44 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Frasier, Frasier & Hickman, LLP

Google rating
4.5
58 years in practice
Criminal Defense, Employment Law, Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Orange County Personal Injury Attorney

Google rating
5
22 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Ibrahim Law Firm

Google rating
4.8
11 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Bankruptcy, Personal Injury
View Profile

JSM Injury Firm APC

Google rating
5
4 years in practice
Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Premises Liability, Wrongful Death
View Profile

Related Posts

Minimum Retirement Age
Daisy RogozinskyMarch 6, 2023
Benefit Verification Letter
Josef RappaportDecember 18, 2022
Disability Benefits
Josef RappaportDecember 19, 2022
Attorney At Law is changing how clients connect with lawyers. By providing an innovative platform to lawyers who want to expand their practice’s reach, AAL is bringing law practices into the future.
6142 Innovation Way
Carlsbad, California 92009
Some of the content of this website may be considered attorney advertising under the rules of certain jurisdictions. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
crossmenuchevron-upchevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram