Projections by Beneficiary Type
- Divorced Spousal
- Early Eligibility
- Women & Dual
Survivor-Only Beneficiaries in 2050Methodology »
Released: August 2021
Next expected update: 2023
DEFINITION: Survivor-only beneficiaries are individuals aged 60 or older who have not worked enough to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits on their own earnings records, but receive full or reduced survivor benefits solely based on the deceased spouse's earnings record. a
In 2050, we project that:
- Almost 2 percent of all beneficiaries aged 60 or older will be survivor-only beneficiaries.
- 79 percent of survivor-only beneficiaries aged 60 or older will be women.
- The poverty rate will be much higher for survivor-only beneficiaries compared with all beneficiaries aged 60 or older.
- Survivor-only beneficiaries will be disproportionately in low-earning households.
|Characteristic||Survivor-only beneficiaries aged 60 or older||Beneficiaries aged 60 or older|
|Number of beneficiaries||1.4 million||84 million|
|All other races||16%||8%|
|Below 100% of the poverty threshold|
|Lifetime shared earnings quintile||Percentage of survivor-only beneficiaries aged 60 or older in quintile|
|Lifetime shared earnings quintile||Survivor-only beneficiaries aged 60 or older||Beneficiaries aged 60 or older|
a. To be fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits on their own earnings record, a worker must have 10 years (or 40 credits) of earnings. While reduced survivor benefits can be claimed starting at age 60, the earliest workers can claim a retired worker benefit is age 62.
SOURCE: Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 8 (MINT8) microsimulation model using 2019 Trustees Report intermediate assumptions.