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En español | Social Security is not just a guaranteed income for retired workers; it's also a form of insurance for families when those workers die. Today, Social Security pays monthly survivor benefits to nearly 3.9 million widows and widowers (including divorced former spouses) and about 2 million children of deceased wage earners.
In the AARP Social Security Resource Center, you’ll find practical information about how Social Security works when a worker dies, including:
Q: How do survivor benefits work?
Q: How does Social Security work when a spouse dies?
Q: Who gets a Social Security death benefit?
Q: How long do Social Security survivor benefits last?
Q: How to report a death to Social Security
Q: What are my options if I am eligible for both a Social Security retirement benefit and a survivor benefit?
Q: How do I make the change from Social Security survivor benefits to my Social Security retirement benefit?
Q: Can Social Security benefits go to the estates of beneficiaries who've died?
Q: Does the age I start my Social Security retirement benefit affect the amount my spouse will collect when I die?
Q: When people die before applying for benefits, what happens to the money they contributed to Social Security?
Q: How does Social Security calculate the survivor benefit if my spouse dies before claiming Social Security?
Q: My Social Security benefit is reduced because I collect a government pension. Will my spouse's survivor benefits be reduced too?
Q: If I am getting a pension, can I still collect Social Security survivor benefits?
Q: My spouse died last month. Do I have to return the Social Security payment sent to the bank this month?
Q: Can my children get my Social Security benefits when I die?
Q: Can the parents of a deceased Social Security recipient get survivor benefits?
Q: Can children who collected survivor benefits continue to receive the money while in college?
Q: Can I collect Social Security survivor benefits if my former spouse dies?
Q: Can I collect my deceased spouse's Social Security and my own at the same time?
Q: What happens to my Social Security survivor benefits if I remarry?
Q: Can I collect Social Security survivor benefits as a divorced spouse and wait to claim my own retirement benefit?
Q: When someone who was married more than once dies, who is eligible for their Social Security benefits?
Q: I was widowed from my first spouse and divorced from my second. Can I claim benefits on either one's record?
Didn't find the answer to your Social Security question? Submit your question here.
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