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What you could get from Survivor benefits

You could get a monthly payment based on the work history of the family member who died.

You might also get Medicare based on their work history if you’re 65 or older, or you have a disability or end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Spouses and ex-spouses

Payments start at 71.5% of your spouse’s benefit and increase the longer you wait to apply. 

For example, you might get:

  • Over 75% at age 61. 
  • Over 80% at age 63. 
  • Over 90% at age 65. 

You can get up to 100% when you reach your “Full Retirement Age for Survivor benefits” (between ages 66–67). 

Get your earnings limit

If you’re getting Survivor benefits, you may have earnings limits depending on your age. Your payment would be temporarily reduced if you earned above the limit in a year.

Enter your birth date to see your earnings limit:

Your Survivor benefit might also be reduced if you’re getting a pension from government work.


Children generally get 75% of the parent's benefit. However, there's a limit to how much a family can receive, called the “family maximum.” We may lower everyone's payments to stay under this limit. Ex-spouses don’t count toward the family maximum.

Survivor and other benefits

If you're eligible for Survivor and another benefit, you’ll choose the payment that’s best for you. The payments won’t be added together. You can also switch benefits later. For example, you could start with Survivor benefits and then change to Retirement at age 70 when that payment is highest.

Lump-sum death payment

Spouses or some minor children could get a one-time death benefit payment of $255 too.