social-security-moneySome people may not realize that their Social Security may not only be based upon their own earnings. In fact, some folks are entitled to payments who have no earned income at all. Spouses, even divorced spouses, and other dependents may be entitled to Social Security survivors benefits if a family member passes away.

Like the original payments to the recipient who paid into the system, these payments will be based upon the original recipient’s income and contributions into the program.

These are some examples of Social Security payments that might be paid to survivors:

  • Spouse: At full retirement age, 100 percent; At 60 to retirement age, 71½ percent
  • Spouse of any age with children under 16: 75 percent
  • Children under 18 (19 in school) or disabled children of any age: 75 percent
  • Divorced spouses: Payments are the same as for married spouses
  • Remarrying: Remarrying might affect survivor benefits if the survivor is not yet 60 or disabled and under 50

If more than one family member gets benefits, like a surviving spouse and a child, the maximum amount paid to the family will be limited. Depending upon the circumstance, the limit could be 150 to 180 percent of the original amount do to the deceased person.

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