To receive monthly benefits, the deceased worker must have credit for 10 quarters of employment covered by Social Security ranging from 2 1/2 to 10 years depending on his or her age at death. Those eligible for monthly benefits include:
- A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled;
- A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted 10 years or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled;
- Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full-time)
- Children who were disabled before reaching 22 as long as they remained disabled;
- Dependent parent or parents 62 or older
Lump-Sum Death Payment
A one-time payment of $255 is paid in addition to the monthly cash benefits described above. The lump-sum death payment (LSDP) is paid in the following priority order:
- A surviving spouse who lived in the same household as the deceased person at the time of death;
- A surviving spouse eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death;
- A child eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
Applying for Benefits
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office, by telephone at 1-800-772-1213, or online at www.ssa.gov.