How Your Spouse Earns Social Security Survivors Benefits
Social Security work credits are based on your total yearly wages or self-employment income. You get one credit quarterly for every $1,470 dollars you earn in 2021, and you can earn up to four credits. Most people make more than $5,880 a year, but four credits is the maximum applied to Social Security benefits. You accumulate benefits your entire working life until you reach full retirement age , or FRA. You can start collecting benefits before your full retirement age, but theyll be reduced.
Social Security survivors benefits are based on a percentage of your spouses benefits. If the deceased started collecting reduced benefits before reaching full retirement age, your survivors benefits would be reduced as well. If the deceased died before he/she was eligible to collect, the benefit is based on what they would have received when they retired.
If you can, we suggest waiting as long as possible to elect your benefits, as they increase every year up until age 70.
Chapter : How Much Will You Receive In Survivor Benefits
After the passing of the worker, Social Security pays a one-time death benefit of $255 which can be collected by the widow or child.
Then there is the monthly Social Security survivor benefit. That benefit is based on the Social Security benefit the worker was receiving .
The benefit can be up to 100% of what your spouse would have received at full retirement. If the benefit you would receive as a survivor is higher than the benefit you receive on your own, Social Security will pay you the higher of the two amounts, not the two combined. However, survivor benefits, unlike spousal benefits, dont have to be claimed at the same time as your own retirement benefits. You can, in many cases, receive one benefit for a time and then file for the other one later. This is a common strategy for widows to take to maximize their benefits.
Did you Know?
The earliest a widow or widower can apply for survivor benefits is age 60 .
How Much Survivor Benefits Can You Receive
The amount of benefits that a survivor can receive varies based on the specifics of their situation. A current spouse can receive up to 100% of the deceaseds benefits as long as they have already reached full retirement age. They might also be eligible for a death payment of $255 upon the death of their spouse. So, this means that a widow or widowers benefit could be the same amount that the deceased was receiving. If the surviving spouse is between age 60 and full retirement age, then they will be entitled to a benefit ranging from 71.5% to 99% of the deceaseds benefit amount. If that widow or widower is disabled, then they can receive 71.5% of the benefit from age 50 to 59. A surviving spouse caring for a child of the deceased can receive 75% of the deceaseds benefit regardless of the age of the surviving spouse.
An ex-spouse is entitled to the same benefit amounts as a surviving spouse, provided they meet the other eligibility requirements for ex-spouses. Remember that the marriage must have lasted at least ten years, and the ex-spouse must not be remarried before age 60.
Some Other Items To Note About Survivors Benefit
The first thing to remember is that if you receive another pension or retirement benefit you may not receive survivors benefit. Social security will only pay the higher of the two amounts. So if you were planning on this additional money each month for helping with living expenses you may not get it.
If you and your partner divorced years ago, but neither one of you remarried than you may actually be able to qualify for your former partners social security benefit depending on their work record.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you are still working, and havent reached full retirement age, then your survivor benefit could be affected by the limit of earnings set by Social Security.
Further, the surviving spouse did not have to work long enough or at all to qualify for their own social security to get survivors benefits. They can still, likely, collect the benefit from their decease spouses social security.
I Am A Surviving Spouse Can I Get Survivor Benefits
Yes, if all these are true:
You were married for at least nine months immediately before your spouse died.
Your spouse was fully insured according to Social Security, meaning he or she had worked and paid into the system long enough to qualify for benefits.
You are one of these:
60 or older.
50 or older and disabled.
Caring for a child who is under 16 OR getting Social Security disability benefits on your spouses earnings record.
You have not remarried before age 60 .
Your monthly Social Security benefit must be lower than what your spouse got, UNLESS your own benefit is higher than the survivor benefit you would get and you are applying for survivor benefits to delay retiring on your own earnings record.
*A surviving divorced spouse may also be eligible for survivors benefits if s/he was married to the eligible deceased person for at least ten years.
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A Few Other Situations:
- If you already receive benefits as a spouse, your benefit will automatically convert to survivors benefits after we receive the report of death.
- If you are also eligible for retirement benefits , you have an additional option. You can apply for retirement or survivors benefits now and switch to the other benefit later.
- For those already receiving retirement benefits, you can only apply for benefits as a widow or widower if the retirement benefit you receive is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor.
If you became entitled to retirement benefits less than 12 months ago, you may be able towithdraw your retirement application and apply for survivors benefits only. If you do that, you can reapply for the retirement benefits later when they will be higher.
The Basics About Survivors Benefits
. If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of those taxes you pay are for survivors benefits. Your spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for benefits based on your earnings.
. You and your family could be eligible for benefits based on the earnings of a worker who died. The deceased person must have worked long enough to qualify for benefits.
For more information, please read .
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How A Spouse Receives A Social Security Death Benefit
In most cases, this one-time payment will go to the surviving spouse that lived with the deceased individual.
If you and your spouse were living in different places during the time of their death, you can still potentially receive the $255 payment. In this situation, the surviving spouse would need to fit one of the following requirements during the same month that the individual died:
- The surviving spouse was already receiving Social Security benefits on the deceaseds record.
- You, the surviving spouse, became eligible for Social Security payments when the individual passed away.
What If I Have More Questions About My Va Claim
I understand you want your VA claim to be done as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal to win your VA disability compensation claim.
You may eventually get there on your own, but it may be after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are appealed and remanded several times, which can cause a claim to drag on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delay in your claim and want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea for you to consult with an accredited veterans disability attorney.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
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How Do Social Security Survivor Benefits Work
Social Security is known primarily as a financial support for retirees who have paid into the system during their working years. But when someone dies, the program also may provide payments for their dependents. That can be a relief for widows, young children and even parents who have relied on a worker’s past income.
How do Social Security survivor benefits work, and how much can you receive? Here’s what family members need to know.
What Percentage Of Social Security Does A Widow Receive
If youve lost a loved one, you may be entitled to Social Security widow benefits on their behalf. Six million family members receive survivor benefits as of 2020, and for many its a crucial income following the passing of a spouse or parent. The amount a widow or widower receives is variable and depends on the age that the surviving spouse claims.
In this article, we will help you understand how much you may be entitled to through survivor benefits. For a more comprehensive overview of how they work, see our guide to survivor benefits.
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Social Security Continues To Underpay Surviving Spouses
You simply cant rely on the Social Security Administration to help determine the right benefits for you, especially if youre a widow or widower.
Whats even worse, is the SSA has been told about the problem for years and apparently hasnt been able to correct it.
Heres the background.
When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse generally has two Social Security benefit options. The surviving spouse can choose to receive his or her retirement benefits or the survivor benefits based on the deceased spouses work record. Generally, the survivor benefits are the same amount the deceased spouse was receiving or would have been entitled to at the time of death.
Whats more, the surviving spouse can choose to receive one type of benefit now and switch to the other in the future. This can be beneficial when one of the benefits will increase if the claim is delayed for a few years.
When an individual files for or is receiving Social Security benefits, the SSA is supposed to investigate all the types of benefits to which the individual is entitled or potentially entitled. Then, the beneficiary is supposed to be told when higher benefits might be available.
In 2018 I told my readers about a report issued by the Office of the Inspector General of the SSA . The report found that SSA consistently failed to inform a high percentage of widows and widowers that they might be entitled to a higher benefit than the one they were receiving.
If Your Spouse Passes Away Before Starting Social Security:
If your spouse passes away during working years, you are eligible to receive Social Security benefits on their record starting as early as age 60.
Even if your spouse was older and already taking their Social Security benefit, you cannot start a survivors benefit until you are 60 years old. The only exception to this is if you are caring for children who are either under 16 or disabled. In this situation, there is a possibility you could start collecting a Social Security benefit earlier than 60.
If you are widowed a remarry before age 60, you lose the ability to claim off your deceased spouse. If this marriage ends, you regain the ability to claim survivors benefits.
If you remarry after age 60, there is no effect on your ability to claim Social Security benefits on your deceased spouse.
If you start a survivors benefit at age 60, the benefit will be reduced from its full amount. To receive the full amount, you would have to wait until your Full Retirement Age to start your benefit. You can learn more about what your Full Retirement Age is here.
There is one strategy that allows you to get some money while letting your own benefit grow if you are a widow or widower. If you also worked during your career and are going to have a sizable Social Security benefit, this strategy might work for you.
Listen to learn more about Social Security Survivors Benefits:
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Who Is Eligible For Social Security Survivor Benefits
A dependent of the deceased may be eligible to receive survivor benefits. When you hear the word dependent, you often think of a child. However, when it comes to these benefits, a dependent might include many different people. Here are the different types of dependents who can be eligible to receive these benefits.
- A widow or widower age 60 or older provided that they have not remarried
- A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the child of the deceased
- A child of the deceased who is under 18
- A child age 18 or older who is disabled, as long as the disability began before age 22
- A stepchild, adopted child, grandchild, or step-grandchild of the deceased in some cases
- A dependent parent of the deceased who is age 62 or older and was dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support
- A surviving divorced spouse in some cases
As with many government programs, the eligibility rules can often be confusing. While the basics are listed above, there are sometimes additional requirements that might apply. This can be especially true when it comes to former spouses. In that case, the marriage must have lasted at least ten years, and the former spouse must not be remarried unless the remarriage occurred after age 60. Deciding to remarry before age 60 will exclude a former spouse from receiving survivor benefits in most cases.
When A Husband Dies Does His Wife Get His Social Security
Losing your husband is one of the hardest things to go through. There is the emotional ups and downs of settling into a new life where your partner and best friend is no longer with you.
After the dust settles, there are realities of life a widow has to settle into like paying the bills. Some partners will be reliant on both social security incomes to make sure that they can pay the bills, and their income is limited.
So, when a husband does is his wife entitled to his social security? Heres what you need to know.
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If the payment is made by direct deposit, the bank holding the account should be notified so it can return benefits that shouldn’t have been delivered.
It may be no surprise that using someone else’s benefits after they die is a federal crime, regardless of whether the death was reported or not.
If the SSA receives notice that fraud might be happening, the allegation is reviewed and potentially will warrant a criminal investigation. To combat duplicity, the agency matches records with other government entities to identify unreported deaths.
What Is The Difference Between Spousal Benefits And Survivor Benefits
Spousal benefits are received while both spouses are still alive. This often happens when one spouse is the primary earner and the other does not have a significant earnings history. In that case, you can receive spousal benefits based on your spouses earnings record. The maximum benefit is 50% of the primary insurance amount. However, when a spouse dies, the widow or widower can then receive survivor benefits. This benefit can be up to 100% of the deceased spouses benefit amount.
Can I Get Va Survivor Benefits And Social Security
Many spouses and children of veterans have questions about VA survivors benefits. One of the most common type of survivor benefits is what is commonly known as DIC Benefits.
DIC stands for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. In this article, I want to answer some of the most common questions that I get asked about DIC benefits.
Apply For Survivors Benefits
You should notify us immediately when a person dies. However, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.
In most cases, the funeral home will report the persons death to us. You should give the funeral home the deceased persons Social Security number if you want them to make the report.
If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 . You can speak to a Social Security representative between 8:00 a.m. 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Although our offices are closed to the public, employees from those offices are assisting people by telephone. You can find the phone number for your local office by using our Social Security Office Locator and looking under Social Security Office Information. The toll-free Office number is your local office.
If you are not getting benefits
If you are not getting benefits, you should apply for survivors benefits promptly because, in some cases, benefits may not be retroactive.
If you are getting benefits
If you are getting benefits on your spouse’s or parent’s record:
- You generally will not need to file an application for survivors benefits.
- We’ll automatically change any monthly benefits you receive to survivors benefits after we receive the report of death.
- We may be able to pay the automatically.
If you are getting retirement or disability benefits on your own record:
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