Courtesy of the Social Security Administration
Courtesy of the Social Security Administration

Unfortunately, tragedy can strike without any warning. The loss of a family member can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for the families of workers who die. These include widows and widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children and dependent parents.

Here are the people who can get survivors benefits based on a worker’s earnings record:

– Widow or widower may be able to get full benefits at full retirement age. Your widow or widower can get reduced benefits as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50.
– Widow or widower can get benefits at any age if they take care of the worker’s child who is younger than age 16 or is a disabled adult child.
– Unmarried children, younger than age 18 (or between age 18 to age 19 if they are attending high school full time), can also get benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22. Under certain circumstances, we can also pay benefits to your stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or adopted children.
– Dependent parents can get benefits if they are age 62 or older. (For parents to qualify as dependents, the worker must have provided at least half of their support.)

Our offices remain closed to the public for face-to-face service, and our employees will continue to work remotely and provide services to the public.

However, if you or someone you know needs to apply for Survivors benefits, please contact us by calling our toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213.

You can also read more about Survivors Benefits at

Remember…Social Security is with you through life’s journey.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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