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Survivor's Benefits

When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, certain members of the family may be eligible for survivors benefits. Up to ten years of work is needed to be eligible for benefits, depending on the person's age at the time of death.

Who is Eligible?

Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

  • A widow/widower -- full benefits at full retirement age (currently age 65), or reduced benefits as early as age 60
  • A disabled widow/widower -- as early as age 50
  • A widow/widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased's child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits
  • Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending high school full time. Under certain circumstances, benefits can be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren, or adopted children.
  • Children at any age who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled.
  • Dependent parents age 62 or older