Social Security Survivor Benefits

Requirements to Receive Social Security Survivor Benefits

When a worker dies, certain family members may be eligible for Survivor Benefits based on the deceased record if he/she had enough Social Security earnings credits.

For many survivor cases, the number of required earnings credits is based on the worker's age at the time of death. In general, younger workers need fewer earnings credits than older workers. However, no worker needs more than 40 earnings credits equivalent to 10 years of work to be fully insured for any Social Security benefit .

Social Security Survivor Benefits can be paid to:

  • A widow/widower - full benefits at full retirement age or reduced benefits as early as age 60. A disabled widow/widower may receive benefits as early as age 50.
  • A widow/widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased's child under age 16 or disabled, who receives Social Security benefits.
  • Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school (high school) full time. A child can receive benefits at any age if he or she was disabled before age 22 and remains disabled.

    Under certain circumstances, benefits can also be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children.
  • Dependent parents at age 62 or older.

Benefits Amount

The amount of the Survivor Benefits is based on the earnings of the person who died. The more the person contributed to his or her Social Security earnings, the higher the benefits will be. The amount a survivor receives is a percentage of the deceased's basic Social Security benefits. The following below are examples of the most typical situations:

  • Widow or widower full retirement age or older = 100 percent
  • Widow or widower age 60 to 64 = about 71 to 94 percent
  • Widow or widower at any age with a child under age 16 = 75 percent
  • Children = 75 percent

Dial our toll-free number and let our expert Los Angeles Social Security law attorneys help you in obtaining due survivor benefits.

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