Social Security survivors’ benefits are paid out to widows, widowers, and dependents of eligible workers in America. Though we tend to think of Social Security benefits as pertaining primarily to the elderly, survivor benefits can be especially helpful for young families who are now left with single parents and school-age children.

If you have paid into Social Security, some of those taxes will go towards survivor benefits. You and your family can receive survivors benefits after the passing of a loved one based on the earnings of the departed during life. A spouse, children, and parents could be eligible for receiving these survivor benefits. In most cases, reporting to receive survivor benefits includes the involvement of a funeral home notifying the Social Security Administration of an individual’s death.

How Are Social Security Survivor Benefits Calculated?

Benefits vary depending on the age at the time of death, the money earned during life, how much and how long they were paying into Social Security, and when they started to receive Social Security benefits. For example, a surviving spouse who has reached full retirement age can receive 100% of their deceased partner’s benefit. And divorced spouses, if they qualify, can receive the same benefits as those who are still married.

Surviving spouses can receive a reduced benefit at age 60 but cannot receive the full benefit unless they are at full retirement age. If the surviving spouse is disabled, this will affect their earnings payout. In addition to these benefits, the Social Security Administration will provide a one-time payment of $255 to the family of the deceased.

Are LGBTQ+ Widows and Widowers Eligible for Benefits?

Because same-sex marriage was not legalized across the United States until 2015, the Social Security Administration had historically denied claims from LGBTQ+ widows and widowers, even when they had met all the other necessary eligibility requirements. As of 2022, LGBTQ+ elders are now finally able to receive survivor benefits after their spouse passes away.

If a same-sex widow or widower was previously denied survivor benefits, they could now reapply or appeal their previous claim denial. Certain other eligibility requirements still apply.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Whether your loved one has passed on and you’re scared of how to proceed without them, or you are planning for the future in the event of your death, it is wise to consult with a Social Security benefits lawyer to learn your rights and legal options. Many Americans don’t know what benefits they qualify for or how to receive them. An experienced lawyer can help you through the process.

The law firm of Greg Jones Law has worked on cases involving Social Security disability claims and the claims of survivors left behind by loved ones. Contact our office to set up a free initial consultation and learn your legal options.