Our Lifetime Commitment to You and Yours

" "Social Security is here with information, tools, and benefits to help you secure today and tomorrow. Our journey together begins when you’re born and get your Social Security card. It continues when you get your first job and follows you through your entire career, marriage, and retirement. Our commitment is to be with you throughout life’s journey.

Our promise extends to surviving family members when a worker dies.

Some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward survivors benefits for your family. In the event of your death, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits; these include widows and widowers, divorced widows and widowers, children, and dependent parents.

The amount of benefits your survivors receive depends on your lifetime earnings. The higher your earnings are, the higher their benefits will be. The value of your survivors benefit may be more than the value of your individual life insurance.

By making sure your earnings are posting correctly, you are passing down protections to your survivors, just as your parents did before you. You can do this by:

  • Creating a personal my Social Security account. Your my Social Security account is secure and gives you immediate access to your earnings records, Social Security benefit estimates, and a printable Social Security Statement.
  • Visiting our Benefits Planner for Survivors to help you better understand your and your family’s Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future.
  • Checking your Social Security Statement to see an estimate of survivors benefits we could pay your family. It also shows an estimate of your retirement and disability benefits and provides other important information.

For more information, please visit our website or read our publication Survivors Benefits. You can also help us spread the word by sharing this information with your family and friends.

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89 thoughts on “Our Lifetime Commitment to You and Yours

  1. If you are promising this, then come through. Do not let the current administration affect what we have worked our whole lives to earn. Shameful!

    • A little civic lesson: the agencies are powerless to stop what the people you and others elect to office do. If you want the benefits you earn then make sure you vote wisely. Elections have consequences. Pay attention!

      • Tom is correct. When voting, make sure you know who you are voting for and their background…do you homework! Because if you don’t, we have criminals running our government and then WE ALL SUFFER.

  2. It’s a lovely promise meant to be reassuring, no doubt, but we have all recently learned there are no guarantees. However, I do thank you for all your hard work on our behalf.

  3. Just a few comments:
    1. Thank you for the warm and fuzzy sentiments, however, along with the V.A., the Soc Sec Admin is a barely functioning Federal agency. Currently, no appointed agency head for 5 years (only an “acting” agency head), having to wait for more than an hour to get through on the telephone, appeals that take more than 600 days to resolve while claimants die and commit suicide, and the impending crisis from more Baby Boomers applying for SS benefits and SSA inadequate budget.
    2. I know Soc Sec Admin is not responsible for SSA legislation. It does not seem fair for, all things equal, married employees receive more in SSA benefits (non-working contributing surviving spouse benefits ) than single employees.
    3. Why doesn’t SSA explain to Ways and Means Soc Sec committee that the Gov Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision, while they sound unbiased, when applied 82% of those who qualify are women! Added note: SSA staff do not understand the GPO/WEP and dispense incorrect information preventing people from planning for their retirement ( I received incorrect info for four years, only to be shocked when I finally applied for retirement benefits).
    4. The SSA cannot offer anyone “protections” as the SSA trust funds may not be adequate beyond 2034.

  4. It is my opinion that those working in the Social Security Administration are not recognized enough for the work they do EVERY DAY, such as this blog to name just this one thing. There are always those who can never get enough money, and would have no reservations taking their share and ever one else’s. Keep up the good work.
    Thank you.

  5. I am again troubled that I am not receiving my full earned benefit. Left and divorced after 32 years of marriage, I had to take Social Security divorced benefit early, based on his higher income as I stopped work to care for our 2 children when they were born at age 30.I was given a discounted benefit.
    My former Husband passed away in 2008 on his 61st birthday after 2 years of colon cancer I do not know if he collected SS Disability.
    My benefit did not change at his passing, although I have been told by friends that theirs did when their former husbands passed. And they know of others who received an automatic increase.
    I had questioned this quite a while back and was told I was receiving the correct benefit. Could that be correct?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Mary. If you apply for a surviving divorced spouse’s benefit at your full retirement age, you would be eligible for 100 percent of the deceased worker’s benefit amount.

      To file for surviving divorced spouse’s benefits, you cannot apply online. To apply for survivor benefits, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to make an appointment. Representatives are available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also call or visit your local Social Security office.

  6. I tried logging in to my social security .
    My password or user name was not correct.
    The message said I would receive a new one via mail in 10 days its been 3 weeks .
    No mail

    • Hi Kellie, thanks for using our blog. Sorry to hear you are having difficulties with your my Social Security account.

      For assistance with your account, you may:
      •Call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “helpdesk”.

  7. If i will 65 years old on March 2019 why can be qualify for elderly benefits if have 25 earned credit since the year’s 2000.

  8. I got my statement today shows increase that medicare took away why don’t you keep the statement and stuff it where the sun don’t shine until i actually get a raise i can spend taking MY valuable time opening an envelope with nothing in it iritates me. when you retire the goverment will do it to you !

  9. I have not had any success in finding out why vets cannot choose cremation. It would certainly amount to a significant cost reduction and reduce required plot space, but mainly I think that there many vets who would prefer cremation and a spot in a Wall of Remembrance in a National Cemetery.

    • Veterans can choose cremation. When my father died in October 2012, he was cremated and my sister and her husband got the flag. His cremains were scattered in our garden.

  10. When my wife passed away in 2024, she was getting disability benefits from social security, am I eligible to receive any benefits from her social security?

    • Hi James, we are very sorry for your loss. If your wife worked long enough into Social Security, you may be eligible for survivor benefits on her record.

      If you are receiving retirement benefits on your own record, you can only apply for benefits as a widower if your retirement benefit amount is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor. If you are not receiving benefits, widowers benefits are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widowers benefit at your full retirement age or older.

      You cannot apply for survivors benefits online. If you need to inquire or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit your local Social Security office.

  11. did my social security will encrease now for my intired life earning iam 67 years and my incom from sc still the same only a litter bit for all my life incom that i work

  12. Social security reps has not given me my deceased,vietnam war hero social security benefits Some widows in my neighborhood get all their husband’s social security,some ,get half and I get nothing My husband left that money to me, to take care me until I die he was a prisoner of war for 2 years in Vietnam he left that MONEY TO ME. I HAVE CONTACTED LAWYERS

  13. I’ve heard that my daughter can draw her biological fathers benefits from where he passed a few years ago. Is this true? And what do I need to do to get it started?

    • Thank you for using our blog, Teresa. When a parent passes away, his or her child also may get benefits. The child can be a biological child, adopted child or stepchild.

      To get benefits, the child must be unmarried and:
      • Younger than age 18;
      • A full-time student (no higher than grade 12) 18 to 19 years old; or
      • Have a disability that started before age 22 and is 18 years or older.

      See our factsheet on Benefits for Children for more information.

      You can schedule an appointment to apply for benefits by:
      •Calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; or
      •Contacting your local Social Security office.

  14. Buenos días, mi nombre es Maria Eugenia Gòmez, vivo en colombia mi esposo murió el 28 de enero de 2008 el era colombiano con ciudadanía americana, el antes de morir me dijo que cuando tuviera la edad para recibir beneficios de sobrevivientes realizará los trámites, ya cumplí 60 años pero la verdad no se a donde comunicarme o como verificar si tengo derecho a beneficios de sobreviviente por viudez, le agradeceria me pudieran dar información para realizar dichos trámites.

  15. Are you eligible for survivor benefits if you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits? Is it only the greater of the two that you are entitled to?

    • Thanks for your question, Danny. You will not receive both benefits but you can switch to a survivors benefit. This assumes that you are eligible for survivors benefits and your survivors rate is higher than your disability rate. We can compare your own potential survivor benefit with your current disability benefit. For more information on how this works, visit our Survivors Planner. You can also contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday-Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to speak with a representative. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. Hope this helps!

  16. Will the government shutdown under discussion in Washington, DC stop the payment of Social Security pension benefits on December 26, 2018?

  17. I’ve read that some SSA employees will be furloughed, will that slow down applications, either taking them or processing them since there will be fewer employees available for intake?

    • I’m waiting to hear this answer since usually it states in the app that the payment is pending by now and it’s not showing up yet….. Making me nervous

    • No, checks are from fund not affected by having a budget or not. The only thing that may be delayed are applications, but I can’t get an answer to that question either. Probably because 95% of their staff has been furloughed.

  18. My spouse died suddenly in Oct. The check from SS was deposited; then the next day is was retrieved back by SS. It is my understanding that payment is one month behind; ex: his Oct payment was for September. Why was it taken and what do I need to do to get it.

    • We are sorry to hear of your loss, Diane. Generally, payments are “automatically” returned upon notification of the beneficiary’s death.
      We may pay amounts due a deceased beneficiary to a family member or legal representative of the estate. You may also qualify for survivor’s benefits.
      For more information on the order of preference and to file a claim for the amounts due in the case of a deceased beneficiary, please visit our webpage titled: Claim For Amounts Due In The Case Of Deceased Beneficiary.
      For further assistance or to make an appointment with your local Social Security office, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week.
      We hope this information is helpful.

  19. Why does the $255 death benefit not be paid to a funeral home for a deceased single destitute person who had no funds for a funeral. Her child is a penniless 33 year old.

  20. I’ve know that some SSA employees are furloughed, will that slow down applications, either taking them or processing them since there will be fewer employees available for intake? I realize that checks will go out, just interested in applications.

  21. My son’s father passed away 1/8/19 at age 44. He was a disabled vet and was receiving VA and Social Security benefits. Our son is 19 years old and a fulltime college student. I know that as his exwife I do not qualify for benefits as we were only married legally 5 years. Does our son qualify for any benefits? Also does his step daughter age 26 qualify for any even though she was not legally adopted by him and we were only married 5 years?

    • Hi, Deonna. We’re sorry to hear about your loss. When person dies, his/her minor children can qualify for survivors’ benefits as long as they are under age 18 and unmarried. Also, if they are over 18 and disabled before age 22, they may qualify as well. You can find more information on how children can qualify for survivors’ benefits when a parent dies by reading our publication, Benefits for Children. You can also visit our Survivors Benefits webpage for more information. We hope this helps!

  22. We live in David, Panama mostly because of Service Connect Disabilities. I have tired to get a my social security account. Is there away to get my social security account while living in Panama.

    • Hi, Freddie. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or access your online account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet. If you are living outside the United States, you can contact your nearest Federal Benefits Unit. Thanks.

  23. When will I hear from you about my Survivors Benefits? It’s been months, and the message on my page just says it is being reviewed – since the beginning of September, 2018.

    • Hi. Jennie. We are sorry to hear about your experience. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask members of our Blog community to continue to work with local offices for specific questions about their case. You can ask to speak to a manager on your next visit or call. You can also call our toll free number is 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. We hope this is resolved soon.

  24. My husband passed away 10 years ago. I was receiving a small monthly annuity with a supplement. I just applied for widows benefits at 60 very confusing. I’ve researched, visited social security offices and keep getting different answers. I still receive a small monthly annuity minus the supplement and social security survivors benefits. My car is over 20 years old. I wanted to take money out of my personal 401k which I was told wouldn’t affect my monthly survivors benefits because it is considered unearned income (I currently do not work). My monthly annuity is also unearned income no they go by earnings. I just wanted to put money down on a car (I take care of my father now I have a non working car) I just wanted a small payment because I have breast cancer. I read all about survivors benefits under retirement age and one office said yes I could another office said I couldn’t because I would go over the 17,640 why my annuity does get taxed and health benefits get taking out and is income but not earned income just as if I would take out 12,000 on my personal 401k I don’t get a W2 so to me it’s unearned but they explained it was still income because I get taxes taking out of my annuity and would pay federal taxes on withdrawal from my 401k not early withdrawal since I’m 60 BUT I DO NOT GET A W2 because I currently do not work. I can’t het a straight answer. Also, my personal IRA is some kind of annuity 401k and I can get a monthly payment. Social security said that wouldn’t affect my benefits either but when I talked to another representative they said it would and I would receive less. I don’t know who to believe and the all work for social security??

    • Thank you for the question, Lisa. Pension payments, annuities, and the interest or dividends from your savings and investments are not earnings for Social Security purposes. Only earned income, your wages or net income from self-employment, is covered by Social Security.

      A non-covered pension, a pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies such as police officers and some teachers), may cause the amount of your Social Security benefit to be reduced. Your benefit can be reduced based on one of two provisions: The Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. See our Information for Government Employees web page for details.

  25. Also., try get an appt or someone on the phone. I spent 3 month researching this and nobody knows the correct answer because if they did they would all have the same answers and it would be in the books I’ve read. Just the same think if your income is over 17, 640 blah blah..it does not explain it thoroughly. I just need it to get a car to go to Drs and take my dad to his heart Dr…I’m not buying an Mercedes, really this stinks. They need to go to classes and all be on the same page ! I worked since I was 15 yrs old until a few years ago because of my health. I can’t collect what I saved for and my husband paid for all these years…what a disgrace !!

  26. Also., try get an appt or someone on the phone. I spent 3 month researching this and nobody knows the correct answer because if they did they would all have the same answers and it would be in the books I’ve read. Just the same think if your income is over 17, 640 blah blah..it does not explain it thoroughly. I just need it to get a car to go to Drs and take my dad to his heart Dr…I’m not buying an Mercedes, really this stinks. They need to go to classes and all be on the same page ! I worked since I was 15 yrs old until a few years ago because of my health. I can’t collect what I saved for and my husband paid for all these years…what a disgrace !! When and if I get the correct answer I want in writing.

  27. Also., try get an appt or someone on the phone. I spent 3 month researching this and nobody knows the correct answer because if they did they would all have the same answers and it would be in the books I’ve read. Just the same think if your income is over 17, 640 blah blah..it does not explain it thoroughly. I just need it to get a car to go to Drs and take my dad to his heart Dr…I’m not buying an Mercedes, really this stinks. They need to go to classes and all be on the same page ! I worked since I was 15 yrs old until a few years ago because of my health. I can’t collect what I saved for and my husband paid for all these years…what a disgrace !! When and if I get the correct answer I want in writing. Do not send me to survivors benefits, working while collecting, etc because all the questions I’ve seen in these blogs I can answer.

  28. I called today to sign up for SS and left message for someone to call me back. The message stated you will receive a call within 30 minutes. I received a call 15 minutes later and spoke to a very helpful, patient individual by the name of Sam. I normally am not comfortable about applying online as I am not good with computers. He was wonderful and step by step he walked me through the application. I am now signed up to receive my SS check. I had a great experience. I rate Sam and SSA with a 5 star.

  29. I have received two phone calls in two days. I looked on OIG sight to report such fraud phone calls. I can’t find information on page where to report these phone calls. I am grateful that I have knowledge to know these are scam calls, but many seniors may not. Something needs to be done and I think it is high time the telephone companies having technology should be able to stop spoofed numbers. Something needs to be done asap. R/S

    • Hi, Nicole. Thanks for checking in with us. We do not usually make random calls. If anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can find additional information here. We hope this helps.

  30. My husband passed away 05/2010 we were married 11 years. I remarried can I collect my deceased husbands benefit if it is more than what I will receive

  31. Concern about the processing time for new born social security card. Our application was submitted around 7 April (Landon Acker) born 30 March. We have 30 days to add him to my employer Health Insurance to insure coverage. We need Landon’s Social Security card to add him to our insurance. We are concerned that we will not receive the card in time. How can we check on the application? Will we receive the card in time to add him to our insurance?

  32. As a widow, I remarried, but later divorced. I am 71 y.o. and would like to know if I may qualify for my late husband’s S.S. benefits. He was denied S.S. until about 3 weeks after he died, so benefits were received for my two children and myself.

    • Hi Sandra, thank you for using our blog. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      To inquire about potential benefits on your deceased husband’s record, you will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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