General, Survivors

Social Security Survivors Benefits Explained

December 16, 2021 • By

Last Updated: December 16, 2021

Elderly man looking out the window while reviewing tabletWe are here for surviving family members when a worker dies. 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, the higher their benefits. That’s why it’s important to make sure your earnings history is correct in our records. That starts with creating your personal my Social Security account.

A 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. The Statement will let you see an estimate of the survivors benefits we could pay your family.

You may also want to visit our Benefits Planner for Survivors to help you better understand Social Security protections for you and your family as you plan for your financial future.

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


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Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Comments

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  1. Trey

    If you are 31 and collect SSI, can you still get survivor benefits off of your parents social security? If so, how do you do it? Both parents are currently still working, but one is turning 66 in February 2022.

    Reply
    • Ann C.

      Hi, Trey. Thanks for your question. In certain cases, a child may qualify for family benefits. An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. For more information, please visit Benefits for a Disabled Child on our Disability Benefits page. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Elias C.

    Tengo 26 años viviendo con mi esposa y dos hijas, estamos casados solo por la iglesia, a mi muerte ella podría recibir beneficios?, gracias.

    Reply
  3. Angie B.

    I am a Filipino citizen marrued to a US citizen worker. I flew to the US for his funeral and being his executrix, i opened an estate settlement. I encountered too many difficulties because i am an alien not having a social security number. Is there a way an alien widow like me benefits from my deceased husband’s social security?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Angie, we are very sorry for your loss. In certain cases, non-citizens can receive Social Security benefits. For more information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  4. Linda

    my wife is a school teacher ,can she recieve ss benifits and herschool pension ??she is 2 quarters shy at the moment ,i would assume she needs to work to full thoseqrts .

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Linda, thanks for using our blog. 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 wife’s Social Security benefits to be reduced. Her benefits 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.

      Reply
  5. Cee J.

    Does this mean I will get benefits because we are divorced or will the new Mrs get them, why not she got everything else of mine!

    Reply
  6. Jls

    This article tells me nothing.

    How do the survivors obtain the “benefits”?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Jls, thanks for using our blog. You would need to call and make an appointment to file for survivor benefits as you cannot apply for that online. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (TTY 1-800-325-0778) 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. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
  7. Donna C.

    Congress needs to change the rules for private pensions for teachers, firefighters, police, etc…
    These group private pensions are NOT CEO pensions receiving $10,000 or more monthly! My monthly pension will only be $2k. That is my mortgage! However, SSA will take away my $ benefits because I have a ‘private pension’. I did work before becoming a teacher. I am a widow and my husband worked for 50 years. Due to the Windfall Elimination (WEP) and Government Pension (GPO) offsets, I will NOT receive hardly any SSA $ that WE PAID INTO!!!! SSA needs to help change these regulations… PLEASE!!!

    Reply
    • Bob

      Your monthly pension is more than the average retired person gets from SSA. For reference, the estimated average Social Security retirement benefit in 2021 is $1,543 a month.

      Reply
      • Jeanette

        I don’t understand your answer

        Reply
      • Sandra l.

        No it isn’t…not for low income workers.

        Reply
      • Lukie

        Not for low income workers. You don’t get enough to cover monthly necessities.

        Reply
    • Shelby t.

      Nice

      Reply
    • Lukie

      I would not complain at 2k a month.

      Reply
  8. James B.

    Have a question I’m in the process of applying for additional benefits under my deceased father’s ssn. I don’t know the status of face to face meetings. Ive been trying since July to get a appointment with the case worker but to no avail despite leaving many voice messages. On or about December 2nd 2021 I received a letter dated October 20th 2021 needing additional info by November 4th 2021 or my claim would be denied although I sent a response on December 7th (rough guess). My application is still on step 3 of 5 and its getting frustrating

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi James, thanks for reaching out. We are sorry to hear about the difficulties you are experiencing. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (TTY 1-800-325-0778) 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. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
  9. Karen M.

    The amount that I receive every month since my husband passed away is WAY less than what I was initially told it would be. Very disheartening.

    Reply
  10. Robert D.

    Thank you for this information. I have been struggling so terribly since I lost my mother this helped me understand what I needed to do and was very helpful during this dark time

    Reply
    • Amine h.

      Are u serious
      She is a liar and Calle all my family and friends god damn

      Reply

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