Q. My mother-in-law worked at a company for over 30 years before she passed away in 1981 at age 55. Can you tell me what happened to her Social Security, since she was not old enough to draw it? My wife didn’t collect it because we were married at the time.
A. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, which means that payments to retirees come from current payments into the system. When a worker pays Social Security taxes, those contributions are deposited into the Social Security Trust Fund, which immediately pays benefits to current beneficiaries.
If your mother-in-law was married when she died, her spouse would have been able to collect survivor benefits. Her children who were not married and under age 18, or who were disabled before age 22 and remained disabled, also would have been eligible for survivor benefits.
Go to the Social Security Administration online to learn more about survivor benefits.
Source: Social Security Administration