1/25/2010 10:11:00 PM Social Security:
Husbands or wives (and kids) get benefits
By IRIS GREENE Special to the Courier
At the start of a new year, many folks like to take stock of their situation in life - work, health, finances, etc. But most of us avoid doing much thinking about death - or what it might mean for surviving loved ones.
Still, wouldn't you feel better knowing that, if you were no longer living, your family wouldn't have to depend only on any life insurance or savings you might have? Of course you would.
So here are some basic facts that may interest you about Social Security survivors insurance.
If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of your Social Security taxes go toward survivors insurance. In fact, for most workers, the value of the survivors insurance under Social Security may be more than the value of any life insurance policy owned.
Who can receive survivors benefits based on your work? Your surviving husband or wife may be able to receive full benefits at his or her full retirement age.
They also can choose to take reduced survivors benefits as early as age 60. And, if your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50.
Your minor children also can receive benefits if they are living with you and depend on you for income - as long as they are under age 18 or disabled. And if your widow or widower is taking care of your child or children younger than 16, then she or he may be eligible for benefits at any age.
So, the best life insurance plan may be one you already have but perhaps didn't know about. Now that you do know, it's easy to learn more.
For more information on widows, widowers and other survivors benefits, and to get an idea of just how much those survivors benefits might be, visit www.socialsecurity.gov and select "Survivors" at the top of the page.
Iris Greene is district manager of the Social Security office in Prescott.