What are survivors’ benefits?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Nov 29, 2017

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If you have enough credits at the time of your death, family members may be eligible for benefits. Eligible family members include:

  1. Widows and widowers age 62 or older;
  2. Disabled widow/widower age 50 or older; 
  3. Widow/widower caring for a child under age 16 or a disabled child who receives Social Security benefits;
  4. Unmarried children under age 18 – or under age 19 while a full-time student in elementary or secondary school – or age 18 or older who is severely disabled;
  5. Parents who were dependent upon you for at least half of their support. 

A one-time $255 lump sum benefit may also be payable.

Divorced widows/widowers may also be eligible for benefits – after your death – based upon your Social Security account.

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