When someone who is receiving Social Security Disability benefits passes away, his or her spouse and dependents may be eligible to receive survivor benefits. Survivor benefits are most commonly awarded to a surviving spouse. These benefits are particularly useful for parents with children, or spouses who are retirement age. Survivor benefits can help offset lost income, and keep a family stable following an unfortunate loss.

The amount of survivor benefits awarded varies. Surviving spouses may be eligible for 71.5 to 100 percent of the benefit amount. If the surviving spouse is caring for minor children (under age 16), or children who are disabled, then the benefit amount is set at 75 percent.

Survivor benefits offer payments to eligible family members at rates that depend on the amount of the late family member’s benefits, as well as the relationship. For example:

  • Minor/Disabled Children – Can collect up to 75 percent of a deceased parent’s benefit.
  • Parents – Parents can receive benefits if they were financially dependent on the deceased person, and are 62 or older. Benefits equal 82.5 percent for one parent, or 75 percent for both.
  • Ex-Spouses – If married for longer than 10 years, ex-spouses may receive survivor benefits. Benefit rates depend on parental status and age.
  • Retirement Age Spouse – If the surviving spouse is nearing retirement age, the benefit rate may change depending on age and other benefits.