Social Security Benefits

The Social Security Act provides for the payment of survivor's benefits to certain relatives if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Widow (er) age 60 or older.
  • Widow (er) at any age caring for the deceased children under age 16 or disabled.
  • Widow (er) or divorced spouse age 50 or older if disabled. Children up to age 18 or under age 19 if in high school full time.
  • Children over age 18, if they became disabled prior to age 22.
  • Parents of the deceased age 62 or older, if supported by the deceased.
  • Divorced spouse of the deceased age 60 or older married 10 years or more.

In addition to the monthly benefits, a special one-time payment of $255 can be paid to a spouse who was living with the deceased at the time of death, or if there is none, to a spouse or a child/children who is eligible for benefits.

You can apply for benefits by phone or at any Social Security office.

If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any checks which arrive after the death must be returned. If benefit checks were being directly deposited, then the bank would also need to be notified.

For questions concerning eligibility, claims and entitled benefits, please contact Social Security directly at:

Social Security Administration
50 College SE
Grand Rapids MI 49502-3072
(616) 742-2373