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


  1. William Hoenes

    My wife of 49 years passed away 20 days ago. She was 78 and I am 75. All I want to do is advise Social Security that she passed so they stop depositing her benefit into our checking account. I can’t find out how to do that.

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi William, we are very sorry for your loss. Typically, the funeral director notifies us of an individual’s passing by contacting the local Social Security office. To verify this information was reported, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      See our Factsheet on How Social Security Can Help When a Family Member Dies.

  2. Toni

    I am 51 my husband and I were married for 30 years. He was receiving SS , which was more than half our income. Will I be able to collect spousal benefits at 51. Kids are grown. But his as paid the bills. Will I be able to collect benefits?

    • Luis A., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Toni. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, both you and your ex-spouse have to be age 62, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. For more information about divorced spouse’s benefits, please visit our Benefits Planner: If You Are Divorced. For specific questions about your case, please call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. We hope this information helps.

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  4. Dawn Pruitt

    Is there a requirement that the deceased parent was providing monetary support for the child prior to the parents death for the child to be eligable for survivor’s benefits?
    If so where can I find this rule published?
    Please advise ASAP

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Dawn. For more information about benefits for children, please check out our publication, Benefits for Children. For more specific questions, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  5. Racquel Barber

    My name is racquel barber,my sons dad passed away in february,currently we are 120 days in a appeal. The situation is really bad due to his death. I have made numerous calls to the ss 1800 number and visited the office here locally ,honesly i can say that neither has been of any help. i realize that its a process,but urgent emails that so say were supposed to be answered in 14 days werent even responded to. They wont even tell me who to complain to. I cant on hear really say what i want as this is public, all i was asking for was an update. No help whatsoever.

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Rachquel. We are sorry to hear about your loss and your situation. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. You can submit feedback about your experience by visiting our Contact Social Security page. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this is resolved soon.

  6. Diann. Hovey

    My brother has been very sick and not expected to live very long. He has been to sick to really spend his disability back pay so he has several thousand dollars in savings. He has never been married and has no children,.Does s.s. take that money back,? Or does it go to his beneficiary?

  7. Sandra B

    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.

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      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.

  8. Timothy Acker

    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?

    • Ann Clifton, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Timothy. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to see the chart processing time by state. Add two weeks for us to mail the card. You can also contact your local Social Security office for specific questions about your newborn’s Social Security number status. Thanks!

  9. Tami

    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

  10. Nicola C Hickman

    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

    • Ann Clifton, Public Affairs Specialist

      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.

Comments are closed.