Survivors benefits available to certain members of family

Question: When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, who is eligible for survivors benefits?

Answer: Social Security survivors benefits can be paid to:

n Widows or widowers -unreduced benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60;

n Disabled widows or widowers – at age 50;

n Widows or widowers at any age if they take care of the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving benefits;

n Unmarried children under age 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending secondary school full time.

n Children who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled; and

n Dependent parents age 62 or older.

Question: I’ve heard you can apply online for retirement benefits. But isn’t it easier just to go into an office?

Answer: Retiring online is the easier way to go. There’s no need to wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative. You can apply in as little as 15 minutes. Just visit

Question: I pay my monthly premium directly to my Medicare prescription drug plan provider. Why can’t I also pay my income-related monthly adjustment amount directly to my Medicare prescription drug plan provider?

Answer: By law, we must deduct your income-related monthly adjustment amount from your Social Security payments. If the amount you owe is more than the amount of your payment, you will get a separate bill from another federal agency. Read our publication, MedicarePremiums: Rules for Higher-Income Beneficiaries at for an idea of what you can expect to pay.