Social Security offers benefits to survivors of insureds under the system under certain circumstances. This has been a lifesaver for many a spouse and children since the program’s start.
First off, who can get these benefits? Again I will take directly from the Social Security Website:
Your widow or widower may be able to receive full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956 and will gradually increase to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50. For more information on widows, widowers and other survivors, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ww&os2.htm.
- Your widow or widower can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is receiving Social Security benefits and younger than age 16 or disabled.
- Your unmarried children who are younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) also can receive benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled. Under certain circumstances, benefits also can be paid to your stepchildren, grandchildren, stepgrandchildren or adopted children.
- Your dependent parents can receive benefits if they are age 62 or older. (For your parents to qualify as dependents, you would have had to provide at least one-half of their support.)
Do surviving divorced spouses get benefits? Yes they can and I work with clients who fall in this category. Once again from the SSA website:
If you have been divorced, your former wife or husband who is age 60 or older (50-59 if disabled) can get benefits if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. Your former spouse, however, does not have to meet the age or length-of-marriage rule if he or she is caring for his/her child who is under age 16 or who is disabled and also entitled based on your work. The child must be your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child.
Benefits paid to you as a surviving divorced spouse who meets the age or disability requirement as a widow or widower won’t affect the benefit rates for other survivors getting benefits on the worker’s record. However, if you are the surviving divorced mother or father who has the worker’s child under age 16 or disabled in your care, your benefit will affect the amount of the benefits of others on the worker’s record.
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