The number of credits you need to have family members be eligible for survivors benefits depends on your age when you die. The younger you are, the fewer credits you need, but nobody needs more than 40 credits (10 years of work).
Under a special rule, we can pay benefits to your children and your spouse who is caring for the children even if you don't have the number of credits needed. They can get benefits if you have credits for one and one-half year's work (6 credits) in the three years just before your death.
Note: If you are already receiving retirement or disability benefits at the time of your death, we will pay your survivors based on that entitlement. We will not have to determine your credits again.
You can find additional information about survivors benefits in our Survivors Planner.
Click on the following topics for more information about Social Security credits: