Will my family be allowed to collect my Social Security benefits after I die?

budgetIf your family depends on you financially, you may be concerned about how your loved ones will survive when you pass away. The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows families of workers to collect survivors' benefits, a monthly payment that helps ease financial burden.

However, a worker must have paid enough in Social Security taxes during his or her lifetime for the family to be eligible.

Who Can Get Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Spouses and families of Social Security claimants may be eligible for two different kinds of benefits after a worker passes away. A one-time lump sum death payment of $255 is available
to spouses or children who apply for payment within two years
of the family member’s death.

In addition, family members can collect survivor’s benefits, or a portion of the amount the deceased worker would have gotten at his or her full retirement age.

Family members who qualify for survivors benefits include:

  • A spouse. Widows and widowers may be entitled to your Social Security benefits if they're 60 or older, or 50 or older if they're disabled. A spouse may be eligible regardless of age if he or she is caring for your disabled child under the age of 16.
  • A divorced spouse. A divorced widow or widower can be eligible for your benefits if the marriage lasted 10 years or more. The rules and age limits for surviving divorced spouses are the same as those for current spouses.
  • Children. Unmarried children who are under 18, or those are between the ages of 18 and 19 and enrolled full-time in a secondary school, could be eligible to receive your benefits. Additionally, benefits may be paid to a disabled child older than 18 who became disabled before the age of 22.
  • Other dependents. In some cases, step-children, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and adopted children are entitled to receive your Social Security benefits. Parents over the age of 62 who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their income could also be eligible.

You should be aware that if your spouse works, gets remarried, or is eligible for his or her own retirement benefits, this can affect eligibility for your Social Security survivor benefits. If you have more questions about your Social Security insurance or want help with a claim, contact the lawyers of Johnson & Gilbert today.