Thursday, June 16, 2022

Who Is Eligible For Survivor Benefits From Social Security

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What Is The Age Limit For A Widow To Collect Survivor Benefits

Who qualifies for Social Security survivor benefits?

To start benefits, the widow needs to be 60 or older. If the widow is disabled, then she can start benefits at age 50. Once benefits have begun, there is no age limit to receiving the benefits. She will continue to receive them for life, just like regular Social Security retirement benefits. There is one exception. If the widow is younger and caring for the deceaseds child, then her payments will stop when the child turns 18. Assuming she does not remarry, she can start her survivor benefits again when she reaches age 60.

Full Retirement Age For Survivor Benefits

If you were born before 1962, you need to understand that the definition of full retirement age is different for survivor benefits than it is for all other benefits.

Knowing exactly when you are full retirement age is important when filing for your survivors benefits. Why? Because if the survivor benefit is the highest benefit youll be entitled to, there is generally no benefit to delaying your filing beyond that age.

Who Can Receive Survivors Benefits

Widows and widowers, divorced spouses, children, stepchildren, and other family members could be eligible for Survivors Benefits. In some cases, the individual must prove they are related to the deceased or prove they are caring for the deceaseds child.

If you are already receiving any sort of Social Security Benefits or payments, you will need to apply for Survivors Benefits separately. Social Security will then see if you should receive a higher payment.

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Things You Should Know About Social Security Survivor Benefits

Nobody wants to think about dying, but unfortunately, its such a big component of financial planning that you cant afford to ignore the prospects of dying earlier than expected. In addition to planning for the future with life insurance options, you should also be aware of Social Security survivor benefits.

Survivor Benefit Recap: The Big Takeaways

Social Security Survivor Benefits

We get it: That was A LOT of information. Here are the major takeaways you need to remember:

  • Survivor benefits are based on the deceased workers primary insurance amount and whether theyve taken benefits.
  • If the surviving spouse takes benefits based on their own age, theyll get 71.5% of the late spouses benefit if they start at age 60 . If they hold out until full retirement age, theyll get 100%. But delaying past full retirement age wont result in more money.
  • The maximum benefit for spouses and ex-spouses is 100% of whichever benefit is bigger: the late spouses survivor benefits or the living spouses retirement benefit.
  • Unmarried children can typically receive 75% of their deceased parents benefit if theyre under 18 , or if theyre disabled.
  • If a surviving spouse is caring for the deceased persons child whos under age 16 or who is permanently disabled, they can receive 75% of the benefit regardless of their age.

A final, final thought: Survivor benefits can be a lifeline when someone dies. However, Social Security alone whether youre taking retirement or survivor benefits typically isnt enough to pay for all your retirement expenses. If youre still working, its essential to save for retirement.

Dont be discouraged if youre behind on saving. Anything you can set aside to supplement your Social Security will make your retirement years a lot more comfortable.

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Will I Get A Bigger Benefit By Waiting Until Age 70

No. Waiting past your full retirement age until age 70 is a great way to maximize your Social Security when youre claiming based on your own earnings. You get an 8% delayed retirement credit for every year you wait past your full retirement age. Benefits max out at 70. But it only works if youre taking benefits based on your own earnings record.

If youre claiming on a deceased spouses record, whether you were married or divorced at the time of their death, your benefit maxes out at your full retirement age of 66 or 67. The same rule applies when you take benefits based on a living spouses or ex-spouses record.

Report The Death Of A Social Security Or Medicare Beneficiary

You must report the death of a family member receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits. The Social Security Administration processes death reports for both. Find out how you can report a death and how to cancel benefit payments. In addition to canceling SSA and Medicare benefits, find out what other benefits and accounts you should cancel.

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The Surviving Spouse Can Receive Survivor Benefits As Long As The Deceased Spouse Worked Long Enough To Qualify You Can Receive Full Benefits At Full Retirement Age Or Receive Your Benefits Earlier At 60 However If You Receive Your Benefits Earlier They Will Be Smaller Payments

If you are disabled and your condition started before or within 7 years of the workers death you can receive your benefits at age 50.

If a widow or widower does not remarry and continues to care for children of the deceased worker that are younger than 16 or disabled, they can receive benefits at any age.

If the surviving spouse remarries after 60, or after 50 for disabled their eligibility will not be affected.

To read more about specific situations and eligibility click here.

Start With Your Benefits Estimates

Social Security Survivor Benefits Explained 2022

As a widow or widower, you have the option to claim Social Security survivors benefits as early as age 60, if your deceased spouse’s earnings record qualified him or her for Social Security.

The survivors benefits that you’d receive at 60 would be reduced, but you can switch to benefits based on your record later , which may be higher than the survivors benefits. In the meantime, you can get your benefits estimates by visiting the Social Security Administration website.

You can compare the estimates of what you’d receive based on your own record against what you could receive based on your deceased spouse’s record. Call the SSA at 800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment.

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What Can You Spend Social Security Child Survivor Benefits On

The parent or legal guardian who is managing survivor benefits on behalf of a child will be required to prove how this money is spent. The SSA will require an annual report, though they can request this information at any point in time. You can spend social security child survivor benefits a few different ways:

  • Basic needs such as food, water, and housing

  • Medical costs including the childs portion of a deductible or insurance payment

  • Recreational activities, for example if the child is enrolled in sports

  • New clothes and other miscellaneous items related to their care

What Information Do I Need To Apply For Childs Benefits

You need to provide the following documents when applying for Childs Benefit:

  • Birth certificate of the child you are applying for
  • Proof of your marriage to the childs other parent
  • U.S. citizenship proof for child
  • W-2 forms or self-employment tax return if the child worked and had earnings in the last year
  • If one of the childs parents is deceased you need to provide proof of death and U.S. military discharge papers.

If the child you are applying for was disabled before the age of 22 you need to fill out the following forms:

  • Adult Disability Report and
  • Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration .
  • You could also receive benefits for taking care of the child. Provide the following documents to help the Social Security Administration determine if you are eligible:

    • Your proof of birth or birth certificate
    • Proof of marriage
    • U.S. citizenship proof or proof of lawful alien status

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    Can I Receive Survivor Benefits And My Own Social Security

    You may be wondering, Can I collect survivor benefits and Social Security at the same time? You cannot collect both types of benefits simultaneously. Once you begin collecting your own SS benefits, you cannot continue collecting survivor support. However, keep in mind that the SSA will pay you the higher of the two amounts.

    This site is not affiliated with the SSA or any other government services.

    Are Survivor Benefitsavailable

    Am I Eligible for a Social Security Death Benefit?

    Even if youre eligible for survivor benefits based on yourrelation to the deceased, you may not automatically qualify for survivorbenefits if the deceased hadnt worked long enough to qualify. According to theSocial Security Administration, workers earn up to four credits on an annualbasis, with one credit equating to $1,410 of wages or self-employment income in2020 figures.

    From there, Social Security survivor benefits are dependentupon the workers age at the time of death. The younger someone is whenthey die, the fewer credits they need to have for their family members toqualify for survivor benefits as a note, the maximum number of creditsnecessary for Social Security benefits is 40 .

    Exceptions to the credit minimum threshold are typicallymade in instances where the worker has children and a surviving spouse whocares for the children as long as the worker had at least six credits in thethree years preceding their death, their spouse and children will qualify forsurvivor benefits.

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    Other Things You Need To Know

    There are limits on how much survivors may earn while they receive benefits.

    Benefits for a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse may be affected by several additional factors:

    • If you remarry before you reach age 60 , you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married.
    • If you remarry after you reach age 60 , you will continue to qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse’s Social Security record.
    • However, if your current spouse is a Social Security beneficiary, you may want to apply for spouse’s benefits on their record. If that amount is more than your widow’s or widower’s benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.

    • If you receive benefits as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse.
    • In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate.
    • If you will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your Social Security benefits as a survivor may be affected.

    How Social Security Survivor Benefits For Spouses Work

    Many people know about Social Security spousal benefits, and many receive benefits based on their spouses work history. Some couples rely on both of these monthly payments to meet their financial obligations. So, what happens when the primary beneficiary dies? The surviving spouse might qualify for survivor benefits, and the benefit amount can be as much as 100% of the amount the deceased spouse was receiving. Children, grandchildren, or parents can qualify for survivor benefits in some cases. Keep reading as we tell you how Social Security survivor benefits work for spouses, including who is eligible, how to apply, and how much you can expect to receive.

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    Switching To Survivors Benefits

    Nancy is approaching age 62 and is considering retirement. Based on her earnings record, her primary insurance amount at age 66 will be $800. Her husband Gary passed away last year at age 63 before claiming Social Security his PIA was $2,100. At age 62, Nancy files for her own benefits, receiving a reduced benefit of $600 per month. At her FRA, Nancy files to collect the full $2,100 monthly survivors benefit based on Gary’s earnings history.

    How Your Spouse Earns Social Security Survivors Benefits

    Social Security Survivor Benefits Part 1. Who is eligible? What do I do first?

    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.

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    What Is A Social Security Card

    Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.

    When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.

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    Can I Claim Survivor Benefits And Switch To My Own Larger Benefit Later

    Yes. You could take survivor benefits, then switch over to your own retirement benefit later on if its larger. Or you could do the opposite and take your own benefit and switch to survivor benefits if that boosts your payments.

    This is a frequent source of confusion because the Bipartisan Budget Reconciliation Act of 2015 changed the rules for retirement benefits, but not for survivors benefits.

    In the past, couples frequently coordinated benefits. The higher earner would hold out until 70 to take benefits. The lower earner would take benefits on their own record, then switch over to take 50% of their spouses higher benefit once the lower earner hit full retirement age. The law eliminated this option for people born after Jan. 2, 1954. But again, this doesnt apply to survivor benefits.

    Heres an example of how it works for survivor benefits: Anna qualifies for a maximum survivors benefit of $2,000 a month based on her late husband Bobs record. But if she waits until age 70, she can get a $3,000 monthly retirement benefit based on her own earnings.

    Anna could start taking Bobs benefit once she turns 60. Shed receive 71.5% of his $2,000 since she claimed right away, for a monthly benefit of $1,430. Or she could wait until her full retirement age and get the full $2,000 a month. Once Anna turns 70, she can switch over and collect her maximum benefit of $3,000.

    How Do You Apply For Survivor Benefits

    Teen Eligibility for Social Security Survivor Benefits?

    Because individual circumstances can vary widely, it is not possible to apply for survivor benefits online. However, you can apply over the phone or by appointment at your local Social Security office. Current requirements and contact information are always available on the Social Security Administration website.

    Applying for survivor benefits may require you to submit specific documents, such as a death certificate, marriage certificate, proof of citizenship, or a divorce decree, so rounding them up beforehand will help expedite the process.

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    Who Is Eligible For Social Security Death Benefits

    Surviving dependents of Social Security beneficiaries may be eligible for survivor benefits if they had a qualifying relationship with the deceased. Here are some examples of those relationships:

    • Widowed spouses aged 60 and above, or disabled spouses over age 50, can collect the benefits their late spouse received.
    • Divorced spouses may be eligible under certain circumstances.
    • Widowed spouses are also eligible for survivor benefits if they are taking care of the deceased beneficiarys minor child under age 16 or a child who is disabled.
    • Unmarried children of beneficiaries are also entitled to benefits if they are younger than age 18, or 19 if they are students.
    • Children of beneficiaries may also be able to claim survivor benefits if they are disabled, and their disability began before age 22.

    Can I Work And Collect Survivor Benefits

    Yes, but if you havent reached full retirement age, Social Security will reduce your benefit by the following amounts in 2021:

    • $1 for every $2 you earn over $18,960.
    • $1 for every $3 of earnings above $50,520 the year you reach full retirement age.
    • Once you hit full retirement age, your earnings wont impact your benefits.

    These rules apply whether youre taking retirement benefits or survivor benefits early.

    However, if youre caring for the deceased persons child, the childs benefits arent affected by your earnings. Even if you earned $100,000, youd still get 75% of their benefit on behalf of the child. But you wouldnt get 75% for yourself because your earnings would phase out your benefit.

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