SSI and survivors benefits


Q. My mom is 55 and has been receiving Social Security for over 30 years. She and my dad were married for over 10 years. My dad recently passed away at age 70 after having a stroke and retiring five years ago. The only income he received was from Social Security. Is my mom eligible to receive survivors benefits and also keep her benefits or would she have to pick one or the other?

A. As a rule, she would receive the larger of the two benefits. However, the rules are complicated, so she should talk to a representative in her local Social Security office.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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