Social Security Benefits
Social Security Death Benefits
Social Security pays two types of death benefits to survivors: the first is a $255 lump sum, the second is an ongoing monthly death benefit called a survivor benefit.
Eligibility for Social Security Death Benefit Lump Sum
Who is eligible for the $255 lump sum death benefit?
• The deceased’s spouse of the insured worker who lives in the same household.
• The dependent child of the deceased worker who is eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on the worker’s records.
If the deceased worker is currently insured, which means six quarters of Social Security-covered earnings during the full 13-quarter period prior to death.
Ongoing Social Security Death Benefit
Eligibility for ongoing monthly Social Security death benefits, or survivor benefit, depends on several factors:
• The child of a worker who is under 18, years old.
• Workers’ children under 19 and attending a full-time elementary or high school.
• Children over 18 and who are disabled before 22 years old are eligible.
The mother or father who cares for a dependent child of a deceased worker must be under 16 years old--or disabled before 22. The benefit for mothers and fathers is different than for widows or widowers because they can be paid to anyone or any age. A surviving spouse must be at least 60 years old to claim widow or widower’s benefits.
Reasons You May Not Qualify for Ongoing Social Security Death Benefits
If you work, remarry before age 60, or are eligible for retirement benefits, this could reduce or eliminate your eligibility for ongoing Social Security Death benefits.
How Much in Social Security Survivor Benefits Will You Get?
Ongoing survivor benefit amounts are based on:
• The deceased’s earning record.
• Your current age.
• Your relationship to the deceased.
A general estimate is that you could expect to receive between 70 and 100 percent of the amount the deceased worker would have gotten at full retirement age.
The Social Security website is a valuable resource for information about all of Social Security's programs. There are a number of things you can do online. To learn more please visit their website at: http://www.ssa.gov/survivors/
. In addition to using the Social Security website, you can call them toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. Staff can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. They can also provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call the TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.