You may qualify for Survivor’s Benefits from Social Security if you are a widow or widower. Survivor’s benefits can be paid to the following:
- Widow(er) benefits if caring for a child who is 16 or younger
- Widow(er) benefits on the deceased spouse’s records at full retirement age of 65. Reduced widows benefits can be paid at age 60 or as early as age 50 if spouse is disabled.
These payments are made on the deceased workers work record. Divorced spouse can also receive survivor’s benefits on a deceased spouse’s record if the marriage lasted at least 10 years at age 60 or age 50 if disabled. There is no age requirement if the divorced spouse is caring for your minor child.
Unlike retirement and disability benefits, you cannot apply for Survivor’s benefits online. Applications must be completed at the local social security office or by telephone. You should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 to apply or set up an office appointment.
You will need to take certain documentation with you when you apply for benefits. These documents include:
- The social security number of the deceased as well as your own
- Proof of death
- Proof of marriage or divorce
- Your birth certificate
- Birth certificates of minor children and Social security numbers
- Name of your bank and account number for direct deposit
- W2 or income tax record of deceased
The amount of the benefit you will receive depends on the deceased workers entitlement. A widow requesting benefits at full retirement age would receive 100 percent of the deceased entitlement while a widow request benefits at 62 would receive at least 71 percent of the worker’s entitlement. Children receive 75 percent of the entitlement and a spouse with minor children received 75 percent of the entitlement.
Receiving pension benefits from employment at which you paid social security taxes will not affect the amount of survivor’s benefits you receive although this may not be true if you receive certain types of state and federal pensions.