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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

Do survivor benefits expire if you do not claim them at the first age of eligibility?

En español | There is no time limit to claim a widow or widower benefit. These benefits will actually grow if you delay them until full retirement age.  However, there IS a time limit to collect the "lump sum" death benefit. This is a one-time payment of $255. In order to receive this payment, you must file the application within a two-year period. Normally, this period ends with the second anniversary of the person's death.

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