Social Security Benefits

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What is Social Security?

Social Security is a program which uses public funds to provide economic security to millions of Americans who qualify. In the United States, both employers and employees (totaling over 160 million Americans) pay Social Security taxes. The money raised through these taxes are used primarily to benefit Americans who have reached the age of retirement or are otherwise eligible.

Social Security Survivor Benefits

Upon the death of an insured, working person, certain family members become eligible for what’s known as Social Security survivor benefits.

Who Qualifies for Survivor Benefits?

In general, the following people can receive survivor benefits:

How Much Can You Get?

How much one’s family receives in benefits depends on the decedent’s average lifetime earnings. If the decedent received higher earnings, the higher their benefits would be. Below are a couple examples of how much your family can receive if you die but reached the age of retirement.

Are There Limits on Who Can Receive the Benefits?

The short answer is “yes.” Typically there is a limit to the amount family members can receive per month through social security benefits. While the limit varies, it’s typically about 150 to 180 percent of the basic benefit rate.

How Can I Apply for Social Security Survivor Benefits?

The first step is to notify the Social Security Administration. You can aall the Social Security Administration office at (800) 772-1213 or your local Social Security office if you need to report a death. You cannot report the death or apply for survivor benefits online. Most of the time, the funeral home will report the death to Social Security for you, but you will need to give the funeral director the decedent’s social security number.
You will also need to schedule an appointment with the Social Security Administration. The following information and documentation should be gathered before your appointment.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

When a loved one passes away, there are so many things you have to worry about while you are grieving. If you are having trouble accessing your social security survivor benefits, then a government lawyer with experience with navigating the Social Security Administration can help you get the benefits you need.

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Last Modified: 08-25-2017 01:55 PM PDT

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