When a loved one dies, there are certain things you need to know about survivor’s benefits. You should immediately contact the local Social Security Office and apply for survivor’s benefits because in some cases, benefits may not be retroactive.
How much are the benefits?
Social Security pays out a special one-time payment of $255 to a surviving spouse of an eligible recipient. Additional monies due will depend on the earnings of the deceased. The more he or she paid in Social Security, the higher the benefits.
Who is eligible to receive benefits?
Social Security survivor benefits can be paid to your:
- widow or widower – full benefits at 65 and older or reduced benefits as early as age 60. A disabled widow can receive benefits at age 50-60.
- widow or widower – at any age if he or she is taking care of your child under the age of 16 or disabled.
- unmarried children – until the age of 18. Your child can receive benefits at any age if they were disabled before the age of 22 and have not recovered from their disability.
- dependent parents – at the age of 62 and older.
- divorced spouses – your former spouse can receive benefits under the same circumstances as your widow or widower if your marriage lasted 10 years or more. The child must be your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child.
Information you need to provide
To receive survivor benefits, you will need to provide the following information at the time of your claim:
- Proof of death – from the funeral home or death certificate
- Social Security number – as well as the deceased’s
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate – if you’re a widow or widower
- Divorce papers – if you’re applying as a surviving divorced spouse
- Dependent children’s Social Security numbers
- Deceased worker’s W-2 forms
- Bank name – if direct deposit is an option
It is important to remember that Social Security benefits and qualification rules for benefits change periodically. Keeping this in mind, be sure to contact your local Social Security Administration office or visit their website to learn more. Link website to: ssa.gov.