Current Law Projections
- Why Will Poverty
Survivor-Only Beneficiaries in 2050Released: October 2012
Next expected update: Spring 2014
DEFINITION: Survivor-only beneficiaries are individuals who did not work enough to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits on their own earnings records, but do qualify for 100 percent of their deceased spouse's monthly benefit at full retirement age or reduced (by up to 28.5 percent) benefits starting at age 60.
In 2050, we project that:
- 87 percent of survivor-only beneficiaries aged 60 or older will be women.
- The poverty rate will be higher for survivor-only beneficiaries compared with all beneficiaries aged 60 or older.
- More than half of survivor-only beneficiaries will be aged 80 or older, making them among the oldest old of all beneficiaries.
- Survivor-only beneficiaries will be disproportionately in low-earning households.
- Survivor-only beneficiaries will earn some credits by 2050, but not enough to qualify for benefits on their own records.a