Your Guide to Social Security Survivors Benefits

Did your spouse pass away? Here’s everything you need to do to get your Social Security Survivors Benefits. Planning to protect your family financially if you die is going to be one of the hardest things you will have to do. You can talk about life insurance, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, and even Social Security Survivors Benefits.

Today, we are going to go over the Social Security Survivors benefits that will be available to you, if you are a survivor. A survivor meaning you were either the parent, spouse, or child of a person that worked that passed away. You should also note that the person will need to have worked enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

How Can Your Spouse Earn Social Security Survivors Benefits for You?

First and foremost, you will need to know that anyone that works can earn up to four credits per year. For example, in 2019, your spouse will be eligible to earn one credit for every $1,360 of self-employment income or wages. So, when your spouse has earned a total of $5,440 in the year, they will have earned their four credits for that year.

Now, you are probably wondering, how many credits does my spouse need to get Social Security Survivors benefits? Well, the number of credits that are needed is going to be solely dependent on the worker’s age when they passed away.

But to give you a peace of mind no worker will ever need more than 40 credits, which equates to 10 years of work to get any form of Social Security benefits.

But you should also note that there will be fewer credits needed for a younger person who passes away to get survivor benefits.

These Social Security Survivors benefits can be paid out to the surviving spouse or surviving children, even if the spouse did not meet the required credit number.

The surviving spouse can get benefits even if the spouse that passed away only had 6 credits within the last three years of his or her life.

But you should always keep in mind that every case will differ, and it is always best to contact a Social Security claims representative with questions pertaining to your case.

What to do When a Family Member Passes Away?

When a family member passes away, you should always notify the Social Security office immediately. Unfortunately, you will not be permitted to report that person’s death online. You cannot even apply for the Social Security Survivors benefits online either.

Please Note: In many cases, the funeral home will report your loved one’s death to the Social Security Office. You will need to give the funeral home your loved one’s Social Security number for them to report the death.

If you are either going to report a death or you want to apply for the Social Security Survivors benefits, you will need to speak to a representative at the Social Security office anywhere from Monday through Friday between the hours of 7 am to 7 pm by calling 1-800-772-1213.

You do not need to make an appointment, but you can, if you want to reduce your waiting time to speak to a Social Security representative.

Is There Social Security Death Benefits for Spouse?

Yes, yes, there is. If your spouse passes away you will get a check in the amount of $255, if you were living with the spouse at the time of their death.

If you were living apart, but you were receiving the Social Security benefits from that spouse during his death, you will also get a check in the amount of $255.

However, if there is no spouse in the picture, then the check in the amount of $255 will be given to a child who will be eligible for the benefits.

Nevada Social Security Death Benefits for Children

Children of those who passed away will get a check in the amount of $255, if there is no spouse available.

Children can also be eligible to get survivor benefits as well. Typically, they will receive 75-percent of the workers benefits.

What Will Happen if the Person Was Receiving Monthly Social Security Benefits When They Passed Away?

If the person was receiving their Social Security benefits when they passed away, it will be up to you to return the Social Security benefits that was received during the month of their death and any month after.

For instance, let’s say your spouse died in July, you will be required to return the Social Security benefits that was paid in August.

Now, you are probably wondering how in the world can you return these Social Security benefits. This will solely be based on how you receive these benefits.

If you get them direct deposited into the bank account every month, it is up to you to contact the bank and request that they send back the money to the Social Security office.

If you get a check every month, you will need to send the check back to the Social Security office immediately after receiving it.

Who Can Receive Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Only certain family members can receive these Social Security Survivors Benefits. This criterion includes the following:

  • The widower or widow is at least 60 years of age or 50, if disabled
  • The widower or widow is caring for a child who is under the age of 16
  • Under various situations, a surviving divorced spouse
  • Unmarried child who is under the age of 18
  • An unmarried child who is older than 18, but disabled before they reached age 22

What About Other Family Members?

There will be a few different situations, where other family members can be eligible. These family members typically are the following:

  • Adopted Child
  • Stepchild
  • Step-Grandchild
  • Grandchild
  • Parents who are over the age of 62 (must be dependent on the deceased person for a minimum of half of their support)

What Happens if You are a Widow or Widower?

If you happen to be the spouse of the person that is deceased and that person worked and earned enough credits under the Social Security requirements, you can do the following:

  • You will be eligible for full retirement benefits or even reduce benefits when you turn 60.
  • You can start receiving benefits as soon as you turn 50 if you are disabled
  • You will be eligible to receive survivors benefits at any age, if you do not get married and you are taking care of children under the age of 16.

Please Note: That if you get married after you turn 60, your new marriage will not in any way affect your chances for getting survivors benefits.

What Happens if You are a Surviving Divorced Spouse?

If you are divorced and your ex-spouse passes away, you may be eligible to receive some of the same benefits as you would if you were still currently married to them. However, you would have had to have been married to them over 10 years for you to qualify.

Please Note: The marriage term rule will not be put in place if you are caring for a child or children who are disabled or under the age of 16. The children will need to be biologically your ex-spouses or legally adopted by him or her for this to qualify.

These survivor benefits that will be paid to you will not affect any other benefits you could receive from the deceased ex-spouse.

Please Note: That if you get married after you turn 60, your new marriage will not in any way affect your chances for getting survivors benefits.

How Much Money Can I Get from Social Security Survivors Benefits?

The amount of benefits you will get will solely be based on the earnings of the person who passed away. So, if the person who passed away paid more money into Social Security, you will have more benefits than someone that did not.

But, let’s be honest, the monthly earnings you will get will be based on a percentage of the person’s standard Social Security benefit.

For instance, if the person who passed away was collected reduced benefits, your survivors’ benefits will be on that amount.

But other examples of benefits that you may receive could be one of the following:

  • Widower or Widow with full retirement age will receive 100-percent of the workers benefit amount.
  • Widower or widow 60 plus will receive 71.5 to 99-percent of the workers benefit amount
  • Widower or widow who is disabled and between 50 to 59 years of age will receive 71.5-percent of the workers benefit
  • Widower or widow of any age who has a child under the age of 16 will receive 75-percent of the workers benefit
  • Child who is still under the age of 18 or a disabled child will receive 75-percent of the workers benefit.
  • Parents of those who passed away and relied over half of their support on the deceased
    • For one parent will receive 82.5-percent of the workers benefit
    • For two parents will receive 75-percent each of the workers benefit.