Q. If a married worker dies, does his family get Social Security?
A. Yes. Many people think Social Security just helps retirees, but that’s not the case: Social Security also provides significant survivor benefits to 5.5 million families.
Sign up for the AARP Money Newsletter.
Example: A 30-year-old medium-wage earner dies, leaving a wife, 28, with a 2-year-old and a newborn. Those children would be entitled to survivor benefits that over time would equal a $476,000 life insurance policy, according to the Social Security Administration.
Children in such a family could collect benefits until they’re 18, or until 19 if they’re full-time students in high school.
While a healthy 30-year-old could buy that amount of private life insurance for a fairly small premium, relatively few young people do, according to certified financial planner Len Cohen of Gaithersburg, Md.
Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.
You may also like: Top 25 Social Security questions.