All About Social Security Death Benefits

With each and every paycheck we receive, part of our salary goes into the country’s social security fund. As you may know, we do eventually get to reap the benefits by the time retirement comes around. What many people don’t know is that there are social security death benefits for survivors of the deceased. As long as a person has worked and paid social security for at least 10 years, their family can be a beneficiary of the funds he or she has already paid. However, the Social Security Administration doesn’t exactly make receiving the the funds easy for survivors. There are more than a few complex rules and tricky exclusions. Here’s a look at who may be eligible to receive the payout and some other important information to keep in mind:

  • A widow or widower is entitled to full benefits upon retirement at age 65 or 67, depending on when he or she was born. Reduced funds may also be available at an earlier age.
  • If the widower is disabled and over the age of 50, he or she is also entitled to a full payout immediately.
  • Parents who were a dependent and over the age of 62 years old can receive the payout.
  • Children who are unmarried, under the age of 19, and still in high school are eligible to receive the deceased’s funds.
  • If a widow or widower is taking care of a child of the deceased, he or she can receive the death payout, as long as the child is under 16 years old or disabled.
  • Stepchildren, grandchildren, and adopted children may be eligible. This is a bit of a gray area though and depends on each family’s unique circumstances.
  • Disabled children at any age are also eligible for a portion of the deceased’s financial contributions.

Other Important Facts

  • The amount of money available to survivors depends on the departed’s lifetime earnings. Generally, the more money they’ve earned, the larger the death benefit will be.
  • If you were married to the deceased for at least ten years and are currently over the age of 60, you may be eligible to receive the funds. However, you cannot receive the funds of a former spouse if you have remarried.
  • The surviving spouse and children may be eligible for a one-time payment of $255 from the Social Security Administration. It’s certainly not much, but every little bit can help during these difficult times.
  • If you’re in the process of trying to attain the social security money of a deceased family member, you might consider hiring a licensed attorney. They can help speed the process along and are typically very experienced in filing survivor payout claims.