Q. Your “Social Security Primer” reads “What workers may not realize is that their payroll taxes entitle their families to survivor’s benefits, providing life insurance protection worth over $612,000” Can you please explain this?
A. Since 1940, the Social Security Act has provided survivor benefits to widows and young children upon the death of a wage earner. Benefits also are provided to retirement age widows. Since Social Security is gender neutral, widowers also are protected.
Dependent children receive Social Security survivor benefits until the child reaches age 18, age 19 if still in high school. A widow (or widower) caring for a dependent child receives a benefit until the youngest child reaches age 16. In 2018 the average Social Security survivor benefit to a widow with two dependent children was $2,741 per month. The value of this survivor protection is estimated as equivalent to a $612,000 life insurance policy.
You can read about the full extent of survivor benefit protection at https://www.ncpssm.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/EN-05-10008.pdf and at