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Do Survivor Benefits Expire If You Delay Claiming? Skip to content

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Do survivor benefits expire if you don't claim them at the earliest eligibility age?

En español | No. There is no time limit to file for a widow or widower benefit. These benefits will actually grow if you delay claiming them until you reach full retirement age.

However, there is a time limit to collect the lump-sum death benefit. This is a one-time payment of $255. To receive this payment, you must file the application (by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visiting your local office) within a two-year period. Normally, this period ends with the second anniversary of the person's death.

Published October 10, 2018

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