How do I know I’m eligible for survivors benefits?
As described on the Social Security Administration website, the following people are eligible for survivors benefits:
- Widow or widower age 60 or older (age 50 or older if disabled)
- A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances.
- A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving child’s benefits.
- An unmarried child of the deceased who is one of the following:
- Younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if he or she is a full-time student in an elementary or secondary school).
- Age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
In certain cases, stepchildren, step grandchildren, or adopted children may be eligible as well as parents (age 62 or older) who were dependent on the decedent for at least half of their support.
Eligible family members may be able to receive survivors benefits for the month the beneficiary died.
If you are already receiving benefits as a spouse, your benefit will automatically convert to survivors benefits after the Social Security Administration received report of death.
Special Lump-Sum Death payment
Depending on if the surviving spouse or child meets certain requirements, they may receive a special lump-sum death payment of $255.
For more information about this lump-sum payment, contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 ( TTY 1-800-325-0778).