When Tragedy Occurs, Your Family Can Count on Us

Older woman comforting a young boyTragedy strikes without warning. For families who lose a wage earner, it can have a devastating financial impact in addition to the emotional one.

Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin says that Social Security touches the lives of every American, often in times of tragedy and uncertainty. It’s true. Our programs go beyond retirement and disability benefits. Social Security helps care for the surviving families of deceased entitled workers.

If you work, some of the Social Security taxes you pay now go toward survivors benefits for workers and their families. In the event of your death, certain family members — widows, widowers (including your divorced spouse), children and dependent parents — may be eligible for survivors benefits. Social Security’s survivors benefits may be more valuable than your individual life insurance.

The benefit amount your family is eligible for depends on your average lifetime earnings. The more you earned, the more their benefits will be. Check your Social Security Statement to see an estimate of survivors benefits we could pay. You can create a secure my Social Security account to access your Statement anytime and see an estimate of these benefits. With a my Social Security account, you can also see an estimate of your retirement and disability benefits, and ot her important information. You can also visit our Benefits Planner to help you better understand your and your family’s, Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future.

In certain circumstances, we also make a one-time payment of $255 to your spouse or child if you’ve worked long enough. Survivors must apply for this payment within two years of the date of death.

For more information about how Social Security’s survivors benefits can help your surviving dependents, please read Survivors Benefits or visit our website. No one likes to think about death, but, unfortunately, it’s inevitable. When it happens, know that you can count on Social Security to be there for your loved ones.


417 thoughts on “When Tragedy Occurs, Your Family Can Count on Us

  1. My mom recently passed away and I have to unexpectedly move from Green Bay to MI to help care for my dad. This wasn’t expected or planned so I’m looking for any help I get with the move. Is there any befents for a family emergency do to a death?

  2. How do I Apply for the $250 death benefit for my mother’s (Carolyn E. Waldron) estate to help with her final expenses?

  3. When tragedy strikes our families can count on you huh? Well where the hell were you and the VA when my dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly October 23, 2017? I was living with him, caring for him and my 2 children and ended up pregnant so 3 kids at that. The house was ripped out from under us on a VA loan. He had signed papers for the house to be paid off for us in case something happened to him and I still haven’t even been able to get into his bank accounts or even know what all life insurance or benefits we could get. My oldest daughter is disabled permanently only receiving $750 a month. Yea that’s what we live off and social security couldn’t even give me the measly $250 lump sum? We were all his dependents but being forced into retirement he did not file taxes anymore due to the petty money he got a month. Why hasn’t anyone ever said anything to me about benefits we could receive and how to go about getting it? I have been extremely lost for almost 2 years now and now I hear you only have 2 years to file any types of claims! He fought for this country, not just in Vietnam, but for the remainder of his entire life and this is what he gets? Lost money he worked his ass off for and paid taxes on? Someone needs to be a bit more clear with surviving family members and give the money they worked for to their next of kin free!

  4. I was 55 when my husband passed wasn’t Eligible for widowers benefits due to I wasn’t 60 my question is when I turn 60 do I Qualify at 60 to receive his Benefits

  5. My father died soon after he started getting his social security benefits in 1986. Am I understanding this correctly that there was only a two year window to be eligible to receive some of his unused monetary benefits?
    I am his son and only child and it seems unfair that all the money he put into his social security account has been confiscated. All or part should go to next of kin. My income is at poverty levels and I’m sure my father would have been happy to see me have some of what he put into the system. schaedelka@hotmail.com

  6. My dad died just shy of turning 48, and 4 months after my 18th birthday. He worked, and paid into social security his whole life. When he died we were told I was too old, and he and my mother had been divorced 1 year too long, so neither of us were able to draw a single cent of what he had paid in. I am not even saying that I deserve his money, buy why does the government just get to keep everything he paid in just because nobody ticked all the boxes? That doesn’t seem right.

  7. my father passed away in november of this year.his ss check for october comes in november.do we need to send this back to ssa?

  8. My mother passed away on October 2019, I heard SS will help for funeral. I am a disable child (61 Years) and paid for her funeral. Can I get help?

  9. Can someone call me about the nieces and nephews we now have custody of since the death of my mother, who was their guardian. Her husband is still alive, but he is not related to them.

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