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Survivor benefits

Survivor benefits

March 31, 2011 by admin

I won't claim to know the intent of the Social Security Act, but I'd say Social Security survivor benefits are meant to provide income to those who can not work to support themselves. This means survivor benefits go to :

  • Minor children under age 18.
  • A widow or widower can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of a child who is receiving Social Security benefits and younger than age 16 or disabled.
  • A widow or widower may be able to receive full survivor benefits at full retirement age. Reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60, and at age 50 if disabled.
  • Dependent parents who depended on the deceased can receive benefits if they are age 62 or older.

In other words, unlike most commercial life insurance, Social Security survivor benefits aren't a simple lump sum or annuity that you'd receive at time of death irrespective of your life situation.

So even if your mother didn't work a day in her life, she likely will qualify for (reduced) survivor benefits at age 60 (50 if disabled). If she did work, she'll get the higher benefit from either her work record or your father's work record.

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