SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home400. Benefits Payable To Survivors of Deceased Insured Worker

400.1 What cash benefits are paid to you as a survivor of an insured worker?

When the insured worker dies, your cash benefits as an eligible survivor may be paid as follows:

  1. Monthly widow(er)'s insurance benefits (see §§401-409);

  2. Monthly surviving child's insurance benefits (see §§410-414);

  3. Monthly mother's or father's insurance benefits (see §§ 415-420);

  4. Monthly parent's insurance benefits (see §§421-427); and/or

  5. Lump-sum death payment (see §§428-433).

Your benefits rates are figured as a percentage of the deceased worker's primary insurance amount. (See §700.)

400.2 What conditions affect survivor benefits?

The following conditions may affect your benefits as a survivor of an insured worker:

  1. If the deceased worker was insured under the Railroad Retirement Act, your benefits may be payable under that Act rather than under the Social Security Act. (See Chapter 23.);

  2. If you or the insured worker was granted a tax exemption as a member of a religious group, whose members oppose insurance plans such as Social Security, you may not be eligible for survivor benefits. If you are eligible, your benefits may be smaller (See §1128.);

  3. If you were convicted of the felonious and intentional homicide of the worker, you cannot become entitled to monthly benefits or the lump-sum death payment payable on the deceased's Social Security earnings record. (See §1722.); and

  4. If you are a minor convicted of intentionally causing your parent's death, you may be denied survivor benefits on the earnings record of your parent.

(See §1837 and §1847 on how conviction by a court for an offense involving subversive activities and residence in a restricted country affect the payment of benefits.)