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Social Security Survivor Benefits

While many people think of Social Security as being solely a retirement benefit, you may also be able to receive benefits from Social Security after a family member dies. Part of the Social Security taxes you pay each month go towards a Social Security “Life Insurance” plan that may entitle family members to receive survivor’s benefits from Social Security after the death of a family member.

Who may be eligible for Social Security survivor benefits?

Under certain circumstances, the following family members may be eligible for survivor benefits from Social Security:

  • A widow or widower of a deceased spouse

  • Unmarried children of a deceased parent who meet certain requirements

  • A deceased person’s dependent parents who meet certain requirements for age and level of support

  • The former spouse of a deceased person may also be eligible in certain situations

What type of benefits can surviving family members receive?

Social Security survivor benefits can include both a recurring monthly benefit amount and a one-time death payment.

How much can surviving family members receive?

The amount of the Social Security survivor benefit depends upon many factors, including the age of the person receiving the benefits and how many people within the family are receiving benefits. But, there is a maximum amount that family members can receive every month, which is based upon the amount the deceased worker could have received at the time of the deceased worker’s death.

What events could affect the amount of Social Security survivor benefits?

The Social Security survivor benefit amount could be affected by events such as a subsequent marriage or receipt of a pension based on work not covered by Social Security.

Contact Attorney Heidi Van De Berg, or any of the other estate planning attorneys at Gries Lenhardt Allen P.L.L.P., to discuss Social Security survivor benefits.