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Definition of Survivor Benefits

Survivor benefits are benefits paid to a surviving spouse. They may be paid if damages are awarded for a wrongful death claim or a workers' compensation case. They may also be paid by the Social Security Administration after the death of a worker who qualified for SSA retirement or disability benefits.

If a worker dies due to the negligence of another person and has surviving family members, such as a spouse, the spouse can receive monthly Social Security benefits based on their deceased spouse's earnings record. For example, the widow or widower can receive reduced benefits as early as age 60 or full benefits at full retirement age and benefits as early as age 50 if he or she is disabled and their disability started before or within seven years of the death. The surviving spouse can also receive survivor's benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is under age 16 or is disabled and receives benefits on the worker's record and he/she has not remarried.

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