• Vonda Van Til

Social Security survivors benefits explained


We are here for surviving family members when a worker dies. In the event of your death, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows and widowers, divorced widows and widowers, children, and dependent parents.


The amount of benefits your survivors receive depends on your lifetime earnings. The higher your earnings, the higher their benefits. That’s why it’s important to make sure your earnings history is correct in our records. That starts with creating a my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. A my Social Security account is secure and gives you immediate access to your earnings records, Social Security benefit estimates, and a printable Social Security Statement. The Statement will let you see an estimate of the survivors benefits we could pay your family.


You may also want to visit our Benefits Planner for Survivors to help you better understand Social Security protections for you and your family as you plan for your financial future at www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors.


Please visit www.ssa.gov or read our publication Survivors Benefits at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf for more information. You can also help us spread the word by sharing this information with your family and friends.


Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

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