Various benefits are available under the Social Security Laws to the survivors of a deceased worker who, at death, had enough credits and was fully insured.
At what age can a widow or widower collect? Widow’s or widower’s benefits, albeit reduced, are available when the surviving spouse reaches age 60, provided the widow or widower has not remarried before age 60. If the surviving spouse is disabled, benefits are available at age 50. If a widow or widower is receiving benefits based on the Social Security earnings of his or her late spouse, that widow or widower may, at a later date, switch to his or her own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This would make sense if the widow or widower own retirement benefit was of a greater amount than the survivor’s benefit.
Are survivor benefits available to divorced spouses? Survivor benefits are also available to divorced spouses, following a marriage to the now deceased worker that had lasted at least 10 years. Remarriage may disqualify the widow or widower from survivor benefits under certain circumstances. The amount of the benefit is pegged to the deceased worker’s “primary insurance amount” (PIA) rather than the widow’s or widower’s. The PIA is the benefit a person would receive if he/she elects to begin receiving retirement benefits at his/her normal retirement age.
Do the minor children of a deceased employee and dependent parents have benefits? Survivor benefits are also available to minor children of the deceased worker if they are in elementary or high school, but not college. Survivor benefits may be available to elderly (age 62 or older), dependent parents of a deceased worker if they do not have meaningful Social Security Benefits of their own. A family maximum benefit generally applies.
Surviving spouses, children and parents are entitled to various substantial benefits depending upon the specific circumstances. Urbach & Avraham, CPAs’ partner, Aryeh Levy, specializes in maximization of one’s Social Security benefits. Please contact us for a consultation regarding your situation.