Surviving spouses are eligible to receive a percentage of their deceased spouse's Social Security benefit for the remainder of their lives, according to the Social Security Administration. An exception to this is a surviving spouse who re-marries before the age of 60, who cannot receive survivor benefits while married.
In order for surviving spouses to start collecting Social Security, they must meet certain age requirements, notes the Social Security Administration. In cases where the deceased spouse was receiving benefits at the time of death, the survivor's benefit amount is based on a percentage of what the deceased spouse was receiving. If the widow or widower has attained full retirement age, she is eligible to receive 100 percent of the deceased spouse's benefit amount. Surviving spouses between the ages of 60 and the full retirement age receive between 70 and 99.5 percent of their deceased spouse's basic benefit amount, depending how close the survivor is to full retirement age. Disabled widows or widowers between 50 and 59 1/2 years old receive 71.5 percent of their deceased spouses benefit amount.
Surviving spouses of any age are eligible for 75 percent of their spouses benefit amount if they are raising children under 16 years old. Minor or disabled children are also eligible to receive 75 percent of their deceased parent's benefit amount.