A survivor, the spouse or child, of a worker who dies may be eligible for social security survivor benefits. There are several requirements, including the person passed away had to have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. Eligible individuals had to put in about 10 years of work and paying SS taxes, but this too can depend on the person’s age at the time of death.
The following individuals may qualify for Social Security survivor benefits:
A widow or widower, full benefits at full retirement age or reduced benefits as early as age 60.
A disabled widow or widower, as early as age 50. The disabled individual must meet SSA’s definition of disability for adults and the disability started within seven years of the spouse’s death.
A widow or widower at any age if they take care of the deceased worker’s child who is under the age of 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits.
Unmarried children under 18, in some cases grandchildren, adopted or stepchildren may qualify under this rule.
Children at any age who were disabled before the age of 22 and remain disabled.
Dependent parents at 62 years of age or older.
Divorced spouses may qualify for survivor benefits if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer, and if the survivor is age 60 or older. Disabled but divorced spouses qualify at age 50.
Social Security survivor benefits are payable even if the survivor works at the same time. Some restrictions in the amount paid may factor in depending on age, benefits and if a certain amount of earned income.