Social Security for Widowed Parents Falls Far Short of Need

Many families who lose a spouse and/or parent struggle financially on top of the grief and trauma. More needs to be done to address the limitations of Social Security’s survivors benefits.

A young widow and her daughter visit a grave.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Most widows are younger than you think. The reality is that the average age of widowhood in the U.S. is 59, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and many of these surviving parents have dependent children at home. Losing a spouse at any age is difficult, but it can be even more devastating for solo mothers and fathers. In addition to the grief and trauma, most families struggle financially after the death of one of the parents, and Social Security is inadequate to replace the lost earnings.

Who qualifies for Social Security survivors benefits?

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA®, CES™
President & CEO, Francis Financial Inc.

Stacy is a nationally recognized financial expert and the President and CEO of Francis Financial Inc., which she founded 15 years ago. She is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) who provides advice to women going through transitions, such as divorce, widowhood and sudden wealth. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies™, a nonprofit that has provided free personal finance education and resources to over 15,000 women.