Q. My niece’s husband, 24, died 10 days ago leaving his wife and two daughters age 5 and 2. He had a regular job. Are there any possible Social Security benefits available for the daughters?
A. As soon as convenient, your niece should call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or call or visit her local Social Security office to apply for a $255 lump sum death benefit and to file an application for monthly benefits for herself and her daughters. She will need her deceased husband’s Social Security account number, his death certificate, their marriage certificate and birth certificates for the daughters. She need not wait until all the documents are assembled before starting the application process.
When a wage earner as young as your niece’s husband dies, his dependents are insured for survivor benefits if he had as little as one and a half years of Social Security earnings credits. The daughters will be entitled to benefits until age 18 (19 if still in high school). Your niece could receive a caregiver benefit until the youngest daughter reaches age 16.