Social Security & Survivor Benefits
The loss of the family wage earner can be devastating, emotionally and financially. Social Security helps by providing income for families of workers who die. In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program.
Many people think of Social Security only as a retirement program. But some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward providing survivors insurance for workers and their families. Oftentimes, the value of the survivors insurance you have is more than the value of your individual life insurance.
When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows, widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children and dependent parents.
As you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn credits toward your Social Security benefits. The number of years you need to work for your family to be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits depends on your age when you die. The younger you are, the fewer years you need to work. But no one needs more than ten years of work to be eligible for Social Security benefits.
Under a special rule, if you have worked for only one and one-half years in the three years just before your death, benefits can be paid to your children and your spouse who is caring for your children.
Applying for Survivors Benefits
If you are not currently getting Social Security benefits, you should apply for survivors' benefits promptly because, in some cases, benefits will be paid from the time you apply and not from the time the worker died.
The information needed includes:
- Proof of death, either from a funeral home or death certificate
- Your Social Security number, as well as the deceased worker's
- Your birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate, if you are a widow or widower
- Your divorce papers, if you are applying as a divorced widow or widower
- Dependent children's Social Security numbers, if available, and birth certificates
- Deceased worker's W-2 forms or federal self-employment tax return for the most recent year
- The name of your bank and your account number so benefits can be deposited directly
If you are getting benefits as a wife or husband based on your spouse's work when you report the death, The Social Security Administration will change your payments to survivors benefits. If you are getting benefits based on your own work, call or visit a Social Security office to check if you can get more money as a widow or widower.
The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security, ranging from 1-1/2 to 10 years, depending on his or her age at death.
Who Can Qualify?
- 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 lime).
- Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled.
- Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.
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 or children eligible for or entitled to benefits for the month of death.
Read more about survivor benefits at SocialSecurity.gov. Or call Burton Funeral Homes at 814-454-4551.
It was very thoughtful of your organization to think about us Veterans at Christmas. We thank you and wish you and yours a blessed and wonderful Christmas!
Stockings for Soldiers Recipient
January 4, 2019
Mark and Karen
First of all your team did an awesome job in setting up the services for my mom.
Thank you Karen for coming in on your day off to help us with the arrangements. We appreciate you Mark for the use of your trailer to move mom’s furniture. Many thanks to both of you.
July 8, 2018
Melissa Hart was very helpful.
July 29, 2018
Thank you for the lovely card and note remembering our brother’s death. It was so thoughtful of you.
It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed. I think of him so often and keep him close that way. Our thanks again too for the very professional and kind and caring way that Burton’s took care of everything for us after my brother’s death.
July 12, 2018
To the Burton Westlake Funeral Home Family
Thank you for doing that annual service of remembrance. That was beautifully done. The piano playing, the singer, Fr. Mike reading scripture and to end with the names and tree lighting...my heart was filled with joy that evening...Thank you again for all your service.
April 5, 2018
The service could not have been better.
It was an honor to him and to me. The memorial stone was beautiful.
Thank you all.
July 23, 2018
Just a note to say thank you for your caring and compassion at the passing of my husband.
You truly made a difficult time a little easier.
July 22, 2018
Mark and the entire Burton Family,
I just want to say thank you so much for all you have done. You have helped my family get through a very tough time in our lives and for that we are grateful.
July 23, 2018
Thank you so much for being so wonderful to our family. You guys bent over backwards and cut us a lot of breaks when you didn’t have to.
Also, you were so personable and friendly and really showed us empathy through this rough time in our lives. We appreciate you.
July 1, 2018
Thanks to all of you for making the most difficult time in our lives a bit easier.
The home looked beautiful. The newspaper article and picture video was just a great honor to our memories and to our loved one’s Life. The Service was what we wanted to share, thanks for making it happen.
With sincere appreciation.
July 10, 2018