To claim a survivor benefit, you must have been married for at least nine months (or for at least 10 years if you are a surviving divorced spouse). The survivor benefit amount is based on the earnings record of the spouse who died. The more the worker paid into the program, the higher the survivor benefit would be. Unlike spousal benefits, survivor benefits reflect any delayed retirement credits the deceased spouse may have earned. You are eligible for a reduced survivor benefit as early as age 60 or for a full survivor benefit (100% of the deceased’s worker benefit amount) once you reach full retirement age. Surviving disabled spouses and those with young children may have additional options. Warning: If you remarry before reaching age 60, you will forfeit your late spouse’s Social Security benefits while you are married. If you remarry after age 60, you continue to qualify for survivor benefits based on your deceased spouse’s work record. Survivor Benefits Widows and widowers have dual entitlements under Social Security: benefits based on their own earnings history or survivor benefits based on the deceased spouse’s earnings record.