Social Security Benefits for Surviving Family Members:

Do You Qualify?

SSDI Death Benefits

Understanding Social Security Survivors Benefits in Pennsylvania

As the surviving family member of a worker who has lost his or her life, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits. If your loved one worked long enough to qualify for benefits and you’re an eligible surviving family member, you may be able to receive financial support from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the form of survivors benefits and possibly a lump-sum death payment.

The following people may be entitled to survivors benefits:

  • Widow/widower
  • Divorced spouse
  • Minor or disabled child
  • Dependent parent

Serving individuals and families in Carlisle, Harrisburg, York, Hanover, Lancaster, and the surrounding areas, Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC can help you recognize and pursue the benefits you deserve. Our attorneys’ understanding of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in Pennsylvania stems from about a century of collective legal experience. We know how to represent our clients’ best interests.

Learn more about your right to SSDI death benefits by calling (888) 498-3023 or contacting us online.
Your consultation is completely free and confidential!

Work Credits: Earning Social Security Survivors Benefits

Eligibility for Social Security survivors benefits is based on your loved one’s work history. He or she must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify, and this is determined by work credits.

In 2020, a person earns 1 work credit for every $1,410 of wages or self-employment income.

A worker can earn up to four work credits in a year. The number of credits required for the family of a worker to be entitled to SSDI death benefits will depend on the age of the worker when he or she passed on. No worker will need more than 40 work credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. Younger workers require fewer credits, and spouses and children of a worker may be entitled to survivors benefits with just six credits in the three years before the worker’s death.

Determining whether your loved one met work credit requirements can be challenging, so we recommend talking to an attorney about your unique situation.

What Amount of Benefits Can I Receive?

If you qualify, your survivors benefit amount will be based on your family member’s earnings and your relationship to the deceased. It will be a percentage of your loved one’s Social Security benefit.

  • The following are examples of survivors benefit percentages:
  • If you’re a widow/widower who is of full retirement age or older, you may be entitled to 100% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit amount.
  • If you’re a widow/widower who is 60 years old to less then full retirement age, you may be entitled to 71.5% to 99% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit amount.
  • If you’re a disabled widow/widower aged 50 through 59, you may be entitled to 71.5% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit amount.
  • If you’re a widow/widower of any age caring for a child under the age of 16, you may be entitled to 75% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit amount.
  • If you’re a child under the age of 18 or disabled, you may be entitled to 75% of your parent’s Social Security benefit amount.
  • If you’re a dependent parent aged 62 or older, you may be entitled to 82.5% of your son or daughter’s Social Security benefit. If there are two surviving dependent parents, each may get 75%.

There is a maximum benefit amount that applies to families in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. This will generally be equivalent to about 150-180% of the basic benefit rate.

Lump-Sum Death Payment

A lump-sum death payment of $225 may also be available to surviving spouses or children of a deceased worker. This payment typically applies to surviving spouses who were living with the worker at the time of his or her death, or to children who are eligible for survivors benefits.

Contact Our Attorneys for Experienced Counsel

You deserve experienced help if you’re thinking of applying for or have already filed an application for Social Security survivors benefits. Due to the complexity of these cases and determining eligibility in the first place, it can have a considerable and positive impact on your application to have a seasoned lawyer prepare and file it on your behalf. Plus, should it require additional documentation or if an appeal must be filed, you’ll already have the counsel of a professional to push it through.

Get the level of counsel and support you deserve. Call (888) 498-3023 for SSDI death benefit help in Pennsylvania.

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