Finally, benefits will be impacted if you will receive a pension. If you’re a worker with a pension, and because of that you didn’t pay Social Security taxes, social security applies a different formula to your average indexed monthly earnings. For a detailed explanation about these calculations, visit HERE.
Tom: Our listeners are also interested in survivor benefits. Who can receive them, and what are the different categories?
Mellody: This is an important question as well. Only certain family members are eligible to receive monthly benefits in the event of a worker dying. In terms of spouses, the most common category is widows or widowers over 60 – over 50 if disabled – or those of any age caring for the deceased’s child who is under 16 or disabled.
A divorced spouse of a worker who dies can get the same benefits as a widow or widower, provided the marriage lasted 10 years or more. Divorced spouses also can get benefits if they are caring for a child under age 16 or disabled but the child must be your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child. If this is the case, your benefit will affect the amount of the benefits of others on the worker’s record.
Beyond spouses, benefits can also go to children of deceased individuals who are unmarried, younger than age 18, or children older than 18 with disabilities that began before 22. There are also some more specialized cases, including parents over age 62 who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their support, or in certain circumstances stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, or adopted children.
Tom: That’s very helpful, Mellody. Thanks for joining us and answering some of our Social Security questions.
Mellody: You’re welcome. Have a great week!