Understanding Social Security benefits

By Vonda Van Til,

Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

We are here for surviving family members when a worker dies. In the event of your death, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. This includes surviving spouses, surviving divorced spouses, children, and dependent parents. The amount of benefits your survivors receive depends on your lifetime earnings.

The higher your earnings, the higher their benefits. That’s why it’s important to make sure your earnings history is correct in our records. You can do this by creating a personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

A personal my Social Security account is secure and gives you immediate access to your earnings records, benefit estimates, and Social Security Statement. You may also want to visit our Survivors Benefits page at www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors. This page can help you understand your and your family’s Social Security protections as you plan your financial future.

Please visit www.ssa.gov or read our publication, Survivors Benefits, at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf for more information. You can also help us spread the word by sharing this information. Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at [email protected]