From the SSA websie:http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/workingpapers/wp103.html"Social Security calculates benefits based on primary insurance amounts (PIAs)—a figure based on a worker's average lifetime monthly earnings in Social Security-covered employment. A person's PIA increases with earnings, but the PIA formula favors low earners. A widow(er) caring for a deceased worker's child who is under age 16 or disabled is eligible for a monthly benefit potentially equal to 75 percent of the deceased worker's PIA. Each child who is under age 18, disabled, or aged 18 to 19 and attending high school is also eligible for a benefit potentially equal to 75 percent of PIA. T he widow(er)'s eligibility ends when he or she remarries or when the youngest child reaches age 16, whichever comes first. However, the children's benefits continue as long as they are categorically eligible.Although each survivor is potentially eligible for 75 percent of PIA, two provisions of Social Security—the family maximum and the earnings test—can reduce this amount." The family maximum of Social Security limits the total amount that can be paid on a given worker's record and is a function of the worker's PIA. . . .[T]the earnings test of Social Security also affects the marriage penalty a widow(er) faces. In 2001 the earnings test requires that, for each two dollars of annual earnings above $10,680, a widow(er) loses one dollar of his or her Social Security benefit (the $10,680 figure is referred to as the exempt amount and is adjusted annually by the Social Security Administration (SSA) based on wage growth in the economy)."Follow the link to read the details and examples.See also: http://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/types.htmlregarding survivor beneficiaries."Within a family, a child may receive up to one-half of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit, or 75 percent of the deceasedparent’s basic Social Security benefit. However, there is a limit to the amount of money that can be paid to a family. The family maximumpayment is determined as part of every Social Security benefit computation and can be from 150 to 180 percent of the parent’s fullbenefit amount. If the total amount payable to all family members exceeds this limit, each person’s benefit is reduced proportionately(except the parent’s) until the total equals the maximum allowable amount."http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10085.pdfAnd last, but not lest,http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf - 17 page SS publication regarding survivor's benefits.Regards, JAFO
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