My preceding post was about Social Security survivors benefits to a widow or widower based on age, payable once the eligible person is at least age 60.
This leads to the question of what widow or widower Social Security survivors benefits are not based on age. There are two, each with its own requirements.
At any age, Social Security survivor benefits might be payable to a widow or widower if a child of the deceased also receives suvivors benefits on that record. The surviving parent must be taking care of the child and the child must be younger than age 16 or disabled.
Since taking care of the eligible child is the reason for payment of benefits, age of the surviving parent does not change the amount payable to the widow or widower. However, their individual benefits for a year can be reduced by employment earnings due to the annual earnings test, just as for a person receiving Social Security retirement. Amounts paid to the widow(er) can potentially lower amounts payable to eligible children. For these reasons, people otherwise eligible for this type of benefit sometimes choose not to receive it, especially if working full-time.
The other is based on disability, with an age requirement. Called disabled widow(er) benefits, these can be paid if the person is at least age 50, but not age 60, and determined to be disabled within a certain period of time. Exceptions exist but usually the disability must have started within seven years of the spouses death.
Not being discussed today, divorced spouses of a worker who dies can receive the same types of survivors benefits as a widow or widower, provided that the marriage lasted 10 years or more and other requirements are met.
Read the booklet “Survivors Benefits” (SSA publication 05-10084) for general information about Social Security survivors benefits.