Social Security Benefits Planner – Survivor Benefits
All about Survivor benefits – The government offers survivor benefits to those who are left without help after the death of deceased relatives whom they were dependent on.
And, to figure out the important details, Social Security created an online page that strives to answer all your questions.
The Social Security Benefits Planner: Survivors page has the answers for all of your questions.
This article will go over all the important information, without focusing on very specific details.
Check out more about this Survivor benefits
- How to qualify for Survivor benefits
- When a family member dies
- Widow or Widower
- Surviving divorced spouse
- Minor Or Disabled Child
- For Parents
- Survivors Benefits Amount
- Other Things You Need To Know
How to qualify for Survivor benefits
To qualify for any Social Security Benefit a worker must earn “credits”, which are earned by working and you can acquire up to four credits a year.
The number of credits needed to receive any benefit depends on the age of the worker on whose behalf the benefits are being received.
No one, regardless of their age has to have more than 40 credits to receive benefits, or in other words, to work more than 10 years.
However, Survivor Benefits do not always depend on the amount of credits someone has and their age.
As a result, anyone is eligible for benefits if they fit in one criteria.
When a family member dies
Unlike most other benefits, you cannot apply for Survival Benefits online.
To apply you need to contact Social Security by phone.
To report a death or apply for benefits call 1-800-772-1213 from Monday to Friday from 7am to 7pm.
If the spouse was living with the deceased or receiving certain Social Security benefits he/she will receive $255 as a “death benefit”.
On the other hand, if the deceased already received monthly Social Security benefits you must return the benefits paid during the month of death or later.
Only certain members of the family are eligible to receive benefits and these are:
- A widow/widower aged 60 or older;
- A disabled widow/widower aged 50 or older;
- A widow/widower who is taking care of a child of the deceased who is under 16;
- A divorced spouse (under certain circumstances);
- An unmarried child of the deceased who is younger than 18;
- Or a child with a disability that started before 22;
Also, under certain circumstances even the stepchild, grandchild, step grandchild and adopted child of the deceased can receive benefits.
Widow or Widower
You can start to receive benefits as early as 60, but these will be reduced benefits.
To discover your full retirement age for survivor benefits, visit this link.
The Social Security Administration uses the same methods they use for workers to determine if a widow/widower is disabled.
It is important to note that if you remarry after you reach the age of 60 you will still be eligible for Survivor benefits.
If you are eligible for retirement benefits, you can receive survivor benefits until your full retirement age, and then switch to your retirement benefits.
Surviving divorced spouse
If you are the divorced spouse of a deceased worker you can receive benefits just as a regular spouse as long as:
- your marriage with the deceased lasted 10 years or more;
The benefits paid to you as a divorced spouse won’t affect the amounts of benefits that other survivors are receiving.
If you remarry before you reach 60 you lose your benefits, however, if you remarry after 60 you will not lose them.
If you are taking care of a child that is under 16 or is disabled, and is the deceased’s natural or adopted child, you can receive benefits.
Minor Or Disabled Child
If you are the deceased worker’s unmarried child under 18 you also are eligible for receiving Survivor benefits.
In addition, if you are attending elementary or secondary school full time, you are eligible for benefits if you are up to 19 years old.
If you are over 62, and you were dependent on a worker who died you have the right to receive Survivor benefits.
To qualify, you must have been receiving at least half of your support from the deceased worker.
What’s more, you must not be eligible to receive retirement benefits that are higher than your Survivor Benefits would be.
Moreover, you must not remarry after your deceased child’s death, if you want to continue to receive the benefits.
Survivors Benefits Amount
The amount you receive is based on the earnings of the deceased.
The more they paid to Social Security, the more you will receive.
Of course, the amount you earn is a percentage of the amount the deceased earned.
Usually, if the deceased worker was receiving reduced benefits for some reason, your benefits will be based on his/her reduced benefits.
But, on some special occasions, the Social benefits received by the widow/widower are higher than the ones received by the worker.
Maximum family amount
There is a limit for the amount the deceased’s family members receive and that is generally 150% to 180% of the amount the deceased earned.
Other Things You Need To Know
You can work while receiving Social Security Survivor benefits.
If you make more than the yearly earnings limit your benefits may be reduced.
But, the Survivor benefits you lose won’t be truly lost and as a result your benefits will increase at your full retirement age to make up for benefits withheld due to earlier earnings.
If you receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security your Survivor benefits may be affected.
Beyond Survivor benefits see more about Social Security – Click here.
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