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Social Security Q&A: Benefits on Deceased Spouse’s Record


When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, are benefits payable on that person’s record?

Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

  • A widow or widower — unreduced benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60;
  • A disabled widow or widower — as early as age 50;
  • A widow or widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits;
  • Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending high school full time. Under certain circumstances, benefits can be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children;
  • Children at any age who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled; and
  • Dependent parents age 62 or older.

Even if you are divorced, you still may qualify for survivors benefits. For more information, go to


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