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Social Security Q&A

Think of Social Security as Life Insurance Policy You Didn't Know You Had

Social Security specialists points out many survivors could be eligible for benefits; also promotes Retirement Estimator

April 5, 2013 – A surprising number of people may be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits, according to Oscar Garcia, Public Affair Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He says, in answer to a question, “Think of your Social Security taxes as a life insurance policy you never knew you had.” He also has some assurances about the agency's Retirement Estimator.


Who can receive Social Security survivors benefits?


When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for monthly survivors benefits. These include widows and widowers, divorced widows and widowers, and children.

Think of your Social Security taxes as a life insurance policy you never knew you had. This protection is paid for by the same taxes that cover you for retirement or disability. The stunning truth is that one in eight of today’s 20-year-olds will die before reaching their full retirement age of 67.  In fact, 98 of every 100 children could get benefits if a working parent dies. 

The average survivors benefit is $1,129 a month.  If you or a family member needs to apply for survivors benefits, you can schedule an appointment by telephone. Just call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Call during the first or last hour in order to minimize your waiting time.

To help prepare you, here is the information we will ask to see. You will need to provide us with proof of death, either from a funeral home or a death certificate. The funeral home can provide the necessary proof without waiting for the death certificate to be issued.

We also need your Social Security number, as well as the deceased worker’s number.  If you are a widow or widower we will need to see your marriage certificate.  If you are applying as a divorced widow or widower, you must present your divorce decree.

We need to see any dependent children’s Social Security numbers and birth certificates. You  should also have the deceased worker’s W-2 forms or tax return for the most recent year in the event their earnings are not yet on their work history. To learn more about survivors benefits, please click on the “Survivors” tab at


Is the Retirement Estimator really secure?


Yes, it is secure.  To protect your privacy, only your benefit estimates are provided online.  


Related Archived Stories


Social Security Warns Senior Citizens to Be Sure They Are on the Official Social Security Website

Countless consumers victimized each year by misleading advertisers who use "Social Security" or "Medicare" to entice the public to use their services

March 25, 2013

Read more Social Security News

also check Medicare and Senior Politics


The Retirement Estimator does not reveal any personal information, such as your address, earnings or other information. The Retirement Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record.

Please keep in mind that these are just estimates. We cannot provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for benefits. That amount may differ from the estimates provided because your earnings may increase or decrease in the future. Plus, your benefit amount may be affected by pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security taxes. The Retirement Estimator is located at

Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can also email him at


Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.

If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.

 Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...

Janicek Law Firm, PC

Free Consultation

(Call toll free)

1-877-795-3425 or Email

Vehicles Involved

VW Jetta (2009–2015)

VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)

VW Golf (2010-2015)

VW Golf SportWagen (2015)

VW Beetle (2012–2015)

VW Passat (2012-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

VW Touareg (2009–2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2015)

Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)


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