About Social Security Survivors Benefits

by Kay Baxter ; Updated July 27, 2017
Social Security survivors insurance benefits can be paid to qualifying family members.

The loss of a family member can be both emotionally and financially devastating. Social Security survivors insurance is a program put in place to help provide income for the families of workers that die.

Applying

Social Security survivors Insurance can be applied for on their website or over the phone by calling 800-772-1213. You can also estimate your benefit amount by using their online benefit calculator.

Amount

The amount of survivors insurance benefits is based on the earnings of the person who died. The more the deceased earned and paid into Social Security, the higher the benefit amount will be. If the person who died was receiving reduced benefits, the benefit will be based on that amount.

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Working

Survivors insurance benefit amounts can be reduced if the person receiving the benefits works. This is determined by the persons age and how much they earn.

Qualifying Family Members

Unmarried children under the age of 18 (or age 19 and still attending high school) can qualify for survivors insurance. Children of any age who were disabled before the age of 22, and remain disabled. Under certain circumstances stepchildren, grandchildren and adopted children may also qualify. Widow and/or widowers may qualify at full retirement age, or age 50 if disabled. Widow and/or widowers that care for the deceased's child that is age 16 or younger, or disabled. Divorced spouses may qualify if the marriage lasted 10 years or more. Dependent parents can qualify if they are age 62 or older, and you provided at least one-half of their support.

Death Benefit

Social Security pays a one time death benefit of $255.00 to a qualifying spouse or child of a deceased worker.

About the Author

Kay Baxter is a freelance writer that has been writing articles since 1999 on a variety of subjects such as small equine and art instruction. Her book "Miniature Horse Conformation" was published in 2007. Baxter has also had articles published by "Better Homes & Garden" and "The Horse Magazine." Baxter attended Illinois Central College, majoring in art.

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