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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

My friend died at 66 and never applied for benefits. What happens to the money she contributed to Social Security? Can her children claim benefits?

En español | The money that people contribute is a tax that goes into trust funds from which current beneficiaries are paid. The money cannot be refunded to the family. However, when an eligible worker dies, certain family members may qualify for survivor benefits. These include a widow or widower, a former spouse, dependent parents, children if they are below certain ages, and disabled children.

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