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The Social Security survivor benefit your family receives is based on your earnings history at the time of your death and is limited to a maximum family benefit. 

Your surviving spouse can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is receiving Social Security benefits and is younger than age 16 or disabled. 

Your unmarried children who are younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) also can receive benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled. 

Your surviving spouse may be able to receive full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for a survivor is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956 and will gradually increase to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50.

The period during which your surviving spouse is not eligible to receive survivor benefits is commonly referred to as the “blackout period.”

You may ask questions in the comments or contact me privately here:

Tim Barton

Chartered Financial Consultant

 

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2 Responses to Quick Facts About Social Security Survivor Benefits

  1. Frederick Johnson on May 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    If I elect to get widower benefits at age 60 how is the amount determined? And what is the age for full benefits?

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