Social Security Survivor Benefits
The amount your survivors get is a percentage of your basic Social Security benefit, usually in a range of 75 to 100 percent each. Monthly cash Social Security survivor benefits are payable as follows to the survivors of a deceased employee. The Approximate Annual Survivors Benefits table shows the approximate benefits your survivors would receive if you died and had steady earnings.
A widow or widower, at full retirement age or older, generally receives 100 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount.
A widow or widower, age 60 or older, but under full retirement age, receives about 71-99 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount.
A widow or widower, any age, with a child younger than age 16, receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
The surviving divorced spouse is eligible if:
- married to the employee at least 10 years, age 60 or over (permanently reduced benefit if entitled prior to age 65); or
- disabled, married at least 10 years, age 50–59 (permanently reduced benefit).
The child of the deceased employee is eligible if:
- under 18 and unmarried;
- under 19 and unmarried but in elementary or secondary school as a full-time student; or
- 18 or older and severely disabled, with the disability beginning before age 22 and who remains disabled.
Children receive 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.
A dependent parent of the deceased employee is eligible if age 62 or older. One surviving parent receives 821⁄2 percent of the employee’s full benefit. Two surviving parents receive 75 percent of the employee’s full benefit payable to each parent.
Lump-Sum Death Payment
A one-time payment of $255 is payable, upon the death of an employee, to a spouse with whom the employee was living at the time of death or to a spouse or child who is eligible for monthly survivor benefits in the month of the employee’s death.