Ask Larry

Will My Father-In-Law Be Eligible For Additional Benefits?

My father-in-law just lost his wife and they were both receiving social security. Will he be able to claim survivor benefits in addition? I believe he receives more than she did, but is struggling without the extra income she brought in from social security. A friend informed us he wouldn't receive anything more.


The surviving member of a couple normally just gets the higher of their two benefits, so it sounds like your father-in-law probably won't be eligible for any additional monthly benefits unless his wife's rate was higher than his own benefit rate. There is a one time death benefit of $255 for which he would probably be eligible, so he may want to check with Social Security about the possibility of survivor benefits when he contacts them to file for the death benefit. Also, if he had any other marriages that ended in death or lasted for at least 10 years, then there could be a possibility of receiving benefits on a former spouse's record.

Best, Jerry

Sep 25 2017 - 5:37am
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