Survivors

Our Lifetime Commitment to You and Yours

December 13, 2018 • By

Last Updated: December 13, 2018

" "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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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. Janice Woodward

    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.

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thank you, Janice! Your thoughts are important to us and we’re pleased when feedback is positive. We try hard to provide the best possible service to our customers and your satisfaction is our reward.

  2. Lisa

    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.

  3. Lisa

    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.

  4. Lisa

    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 !!

  5. Lisa

    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??

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      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.

  6. Jennie Bowman

    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.

    • Ann Clifton, Public Affairs Specialist

      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.

  7. Adhitya Nugraha Novianta

    Social Security help secure today and tomorrow. Adhitya Nugraha Novianta

  8. Freddie Judson Kimball

    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.

    • Ann Clifton, Public Affairs Specialist

      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.

  9. Venita Alexander

    Will we still receive our benefits during shutdown?

  10. Martha L Sheppard

    Will I still get my SSI income because of the government shutdown?

Comments are closed.