If you are like most people paying into the social security system, you wonder if you will ever see a return on your investment. Will social security benefits be there for you in your time of need? Social security is not just for retirement, it helps if your spouse dies.
Good news! Social security has survivorship benefits. This means that if your spouse dies, you and your minor children receive benefits.
Here’s a rundown of your social security benefits as a spouse:
- You receive a $255 lump sum death benefit.
- If you are at least 60 years old, you can claim any social security benefits due.
- As a disabled spouse who is at least 50, you can claim any social security benefits due.
- If your spouse was receiving social security and his checks were bigger than yours, you can now receive his larger amount.
- A spouse caring for a child under the age of 16 or a disabled child who was disabled before the age of 22 receives benefits.
Other family members may also receive social security benefits:
- Unmarried children, under the age of 18
- Disabled children, if disabled before the age of 22
- Dependent parents who are age 62 or older
- A divorced spouse qualifies for the same benefits as a spouse if the marriage lasted 10 years or longer. But if a spouse gets remarried before the age of 60, that marriage must end before he/she can get benefits based upon the divorced spouse.
No benefit period
Benefits end for a spouse once the youngest child attains the age of 16 and do not start again until the spouse is 60 (or 50, if disabled.) It is wise to have life insurance and comprehensive estate planning to cover this time period and to supplement social security benefits.
If you have questions about social security survivorship benefits, first contact the Social Security Administration and, if you still have questions, consult with a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney.