A widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled), or at any age if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
A divorced widow or widower age 60 or older (50 if disabled) if the marriage lasted ten years, or if caring for an entitled child who is under 16 or disabled.
Unmarried children up to 18 (19 if they are attending a primary or secondary school full-time).
Children who were disabled before reaching 22, as long as they remained disabled.
Dependent parent or parents 62 or older.
The deceased worker must have credit for work covered by Social Security. Up to ten years of work is needed to be eligible for benefits depending on the person’s age at the time of death.
Lump-Sum Death Penalty
A one-time payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased’s records. If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased’s record in the month of death.
Applying for Benefits
You must apply in order to receive benefits. You may apply at any Social Security office or, if you wish, you may apply by telephone.
Just dial the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 and the operator will schedule an appointment for you or arrange for the local Social Security office to take your claim by telephone. You may also visit the website
for the Social Security Administration for up-to-date information.