Social Security Survivors Insurance

Social Security Survivors Insurance


The program provides monthly income benefits and a one-time death benefit to surviving spouses and children of people who have died who have worked and paid taxes into Social Security. Benefits can be paid to the following people:

a spouse, if he or she is age 62 or older (unless he or she collects a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record)

a spouse of any age who is caring for the applicant's child if the child is age 16 or younger or has a disability

children, if they are unmarried and age 18 or younger

children age 18 or younger, who are full-time elementary or secondary school as a full-time student; or

children age 18 or older who have a severe disability (the disability must have started before age 22)

Survivor benefits may be paid to a person's parents only if they depended upon the wage-earner for 50% or more of their support.

A one-time death benefit of $255 may also be made to survivors of wage-earners who had enough credits. This payment can be made only to certain members of the family. The amount payable to survivors is a percentage of the wage-earner's basic Social Security benefit -- usually between 75% and 100%.

Recipients must report to SSA the following changes in circumstance which may affect their continued receipt of benefits:

if they move

if they marry or divorce

if their name changes

if their income or earnings change

if a beneficiary is imprisoned

if they leave the United States

if a beneficiary dies

If a beneficiary is unable to handle his or her own financial affairs, SSA may appoint a relative, friend, or other interested party as a "representative payee." Representative Payees must file periodic accounting reports with SSA to show how the beneficiary's funds were spent or saved.

BENEFITS FOR DIVORCED PEOPLE If a person is divorced (even if if s/he is remarried), his or her ex-spouse may be eligible for benefits on the former spouse's record. In some situations, an ex-spouse may receive benefits even if the former spouse is not receiving them. In order to qualify, the former spouse must:

have been married at least 10 years prior, and not currently married

be age 62 or older

not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on his or her own Social Security record, or on someone else's Social Security record

Benefits paid to an ex-spouse do not affect the amount of any benefits payable to the person whose on whose Social Security record benefits are claimed or other members of his or her family.

APPEALS People have the right to appeal a decision that affects their eligibility for Social Security benefits. There are three steps in the appeals process available with SSA. Beyond that, people may take their case to a Federal court. APPLICATION PROCEDURE To file a claim for any Social Security benefit, people walk in to any SSA office. People may call the teleservice center to make an appointment. People who want to sign up for retirement, should make a claim three months before they wish to begin receiving benefits. All other applicants should file a claim as soon as they become eligible.

People may need to present the following documents when they file a claim:

Social Security card (or a record of their social security number)

birth certificate

children's birth certificates (if they are applying)

marriage certificate (if signing up on a spouse's record)

check or other papers with bank account number if they wish direct deposit of their check APPLICATION PROCEDURE People call the teleservice to make and appointment or walk in any local SSA office. FEES/PAYMENT SOURCE There are no fees for service.
Application Procedure
Service Condition Fee




104 N. Mentor Ave.

Pasadena , CA 91106 (Physical)

Get directions

Service hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm; Wednesday, 9:00am to 12:00pm. National Toll Free number is available Monday through Friday, 7:00am to 7:00pm.


(800) 772-1213 (National Toll Free Number)


(800) 325-0778

Service/Intake and Administration

(877) 255-1508

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