Who Is Eligible For Social Security Survivors Benefits?

If the unfortunate should happen and you experience a death in your family, most types of Social Security benefits are available to help with the financial burden faced by those who lost a loved one. Eligibility for these survivor's benefits depends on your relationship to the deceased and the type of benefits that the deceased had been eligible for or was receiving.

Survivors Benefits for Widows and Widowers

If your deceased spouse worked long enough, you may be able to receive survivors benefits based on his or her work record. The age at which you can begin receiving survivors benefits depends on your situation. Generally, you have to wait until retirement age, but you can receive partial benefits at age 60. If you are disabled, you can receive survivors benefits at age 50. And, if you care for a minor child who receives disability benefits based on your deceased spouse’s work record, you can receive survivors benefits at any age.

Note that remarriage does affect your ability to receive survivors benefits. Remarriage before 60 generally prevents you from being eligible for them.

Survivors Benefits for Children

When a child’s parent passes away, the child can receive survivors benefits if the child is younger than 18, between 18 and 19, and a full-time student in elementary or secondary school, or if the child is older than 18 and severely disabled with the disability having started before age 22.

In order for children to receive the benefits, the parent must have worked long enough. The amount of work required increases with the age of the parent so that a young parent under 24 only requires a year and a half before his or her children would be eligible for survivors benefits.

Finally, there are other people who may be qualified to receive survivors benefits. For example, dependent parents, grandchildren, divorced spouses, step-relatives, and adopted children are all, under certain conditions, able to receive survivors benefits in the event that a loved one who had cared for them passes away.

Have you received survivors benefits after the death of a loved one? How did the financial assistance help you and your family?

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