In Part 1 we looked at Social Security Disability Insurance as well as the Social Security beneficiaries (see the chart here). We will finish exploring the benefits for survivors, spouses, and children.
Survivor Benefits: Survivors of deceased qualified workers, such as a spouse and minor children, are likely entitled to Social Security benefits.
Spousal Benefits: A widow or widower can begin receiving reduced benefits as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled) or full benefits at Full Retirement Age. If the surviving spouse is also a qualified worker to receive Social Security and if their benefit is greater than the survivor benefit, they can switch to receive their own benefits as early as 62 years of age. If the surviving spouse is caring for a minor child, he or she can begin receiving Social Security Benefits at any time until the minor child is 16 years of age.
Child Benefits: Children of a deceased worker under the age of 18, or under age 22 if the worker is disabled, are entitled to a monthly benefit. Each child’s death benefits depend on how long the deceased person worked. The longer the worker was employed, the greater the benefit to the surviving minor. Each child can receive 75 percent of the basic benefit. However, there is a maximum a surviving family can receive. If the surviving spouse also receives a survivor benefit, each of the child’s benefits will be reduced. The maximum benefit allowed per family falls between 150 percent and 180 percent of the deceased person’s basic benefit amount. If the family total is more than this amount, each person’s monthly allowance will be decreased.
In the event that a spouse dies and the surviving spouse collects benefits but still works, the surviving spouse can forfeit his/her Social Security benefit in favor of the kids who may not receive a reduction in benefits like the working parent would.
Navigating through the many options of selecting and timing your Social Security is complicated. Coyle Financial Counsel is committed to counseling our clients in all of life’s transitions and would be happy to discuss this issue with you.
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Posted on Fri, August 1, 2014