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Social Security Q&A

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q: When a person who has worked and paid Social Security taxes dies, are benefits payable on that person’s record?
A: Social Security survivors’ benefits can be paid to:
—A widow or widower — unreduced benefits at full retirement age, or reduced benefits as early as age 60;
—A disabled widow or widower — as early as age 50;
—A widow or widower at any age if he or she takes care of the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled, and receiving Social Security benefits;
—Unmarried children under 18, or up to age 19 if they are attending high school full time. Under certain circumstances, benefits can be paid to stepchildren, grandchildren or adopted children;
—Children at any age who were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled; and
—Dependent parents age 62 or older.
Even if you are divorced, you still may qualify for survivors’ benefits. For more information, go to

Q: I lost my Social Security card. Should I get a new one?
A: You may not need to get a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important. However, you can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. Remember, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Learn more at

(This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213.)
© 2011, Social Security Administration.

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