Social Security Survivor Benefits


The sudden loss of the breadwinner in a family exerts tremendous pain and grief to it. This inflicts great financial and emotional loss to all the family members. In order to support the families undergoing such trauma, the United States Federal Government, under the aegis of Social Security Administration (SSA) has launched large scale survivor benefits programs. The aim is to provide adequate monetary support to the families in need. This support programs have made lots of goods to the society and it has been the chief source of financial support for the surviving spouses, children and other family members of the person who died suddenly. Statistics of SSA reveal that nearly 98% of the children of the deceased are eligible to avail the benefits.
Generally, the social security taxes are deducted by almost all the employers from the monthly salary of the employees. This monthly accumulation, enables the employees to earn credits to avail the program. In order to become eligible to receive the benefit, the employees should work for at lest ten years or should complete forty credits. The credits completed by a worker depends on his or her age at the time of his/her death. The younger the age of the person at the time of his or her death, the less credits are required by him or her. According to the rule, however, the children, spouses and parents are entitled to receive benefits even if the employees die after completing six work credits.

Who Can Avail Social Security Survivor Benefits

There are some rules for a person to receive social security benefits. The rules are listed below.
-To avail the benefits, the age of the spouse of the departed person should be more than sixty years. This criteria has somewhat been relaxed if the spouse is suffering from disability. In this case the age of the spouse should be at least fifty years.
-If the husband or the wife of the departed has not crossed the age of sixty but he or she has a child or children who is below the age of sixteen or disabled, he or she may be eligible to receive the benefits.
– The person may be divorced at the time of his or her death. Even his or her ex-spouse can apply for the benefits. But, the main precondition is that they should be married for at least ten years. Again if the ex spouse is taking care of their children, he or she is entitled to receive the benefits.
– Unmarried children of the died worker below the age of eighteen are allowed to avail this social security program.
-If the person who died is survived by his or her parents who are over sixty two years of age, they can avail the benefits.

Benefits Received

The amount of the benefits received by the survivors depends on the whole life earnings of the departed. This implies that if the deceased person earned more, the claimants will receive greater compensations. The applicant will receive the money from the social security program on a monthly basis. The amount of the money received will also depend on the relationship of the survivor with the individual who died.
Upon the demise of a worker, generally the spouse, ex-spouse or the dependents are entitled to certain financial benefits. First thing to do at that time is to contact the social security administration. Social security survivor benefits calculator is used to calculate the amount that the survivors are entitled to receive. Calculations are made in such a way that the survivors are expected to receive the amount what the deceased person would have received if he or she would have been working. The payouts are calculated by keeping into consideration the lifetime earnings of the workers. The calculations are done by taking into account the average earning of the employee and by using the same retirement benefit formula. Wage growth and inflation rate are factored in to the calculation. As a thumb rule, if the spouse of the demised individual has entered the retirement age, he or she would likely to receive 100% of the basic social security benefit. Again, in case the age of the partner is less than sixty, he or she may receive 75% to 94% of the basic benefit.

To Apply for Social Security Survivor Benefits

The social security is a noble way to insure the future of the near and dear ones of the demised individual. This ensures that the survivors of the person died do not encounter financial problem in the years to come. The application to avail the benefits should be made immediately after the death of the worker. This is required because the applicant start receiving the benefits only after the date of application. The person who is claiming the benefits should carry original or certified copies of some documents, which are listed below.
-Death or funeral certificate
-The social security number of the deceased as well as that of the claimant
-Claimant’s birth certificate
-Marriage certificate
-Divorce certificate, if required
-Social security number of the dependent children
-W-2 forms which show the details of the tax returns of the worker who died
-The bank account number where the money will be deposited

Some other Aspects of Social Security Survivor Benefits

If you are enjoying pension from your own work where you accumulated amount in terms of social security benefits, that pension will no way affect you’re the amount that you receive. But if you were employed in some establishments which were not covered by social security, your benefits amount will be reduced. In another case, if you are working while at the same time receiving social security benefits and have not reached the retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced.
You are not supposed to get the benefits of a spouse if you remarry before the age of sixty. But if you marry after the age of sixty (or after fifty if you are disabled) you will receive all the social security benefits. If you are not agreed to some of the provisions, you can always appeal.