Chapter : Who Is Eligible For Survivor Benefits From Social Security
- A widow or widower age 60 or older who was and did not remarry before age 60
- A surviving divorced spouse who was married to the deceased for at least 10 years
- A widow or widower of any age caring for the deceaseds child who is under 16 or disabled and receiving benefits on their record
- An unmarried child of the deceased who is: younger than age 18 or age 18 or older with a disability that began before 22
- Parents of the deceased worker who are 1) at least 62 2) were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their income, and 3) whose own Social Security benefit is not larger than that of their deceased child
Did you Know?
If you were married to the deceased for at least9 months, you could be eligible for survivors benefits.
Who Should Complete The Application
If an estate exists, the executor named in the will or the administrator named by the Court to administer the estate applies for the death benefit.
The executor should apply for the benefit within 60 days of the date of death.
If no estate exists or if the executor has not applied for the death benefit, payment may be made to other persons who apply for the benefit in the following order of priority:
- the person or institution that has paid for or that is responsible for paying for the funeral expenses of the deceased
- the surviving spouse or common-law partner of the deceased, or
- the next-of-kin of the deceased
A registered trustee, guardian, or other legal representative, may act on a clients behalf in person, by mail or by phone, but not online.
For more information, you can contact the Canada Pension Plan.
Chapter : How Much Will You Receive In Survivor Benefits
After the passing of the worker, Social Security pays a one-time death benefit of $255 which can be collected by the widow or child.
Then there is the monthly Social Security survivor benefit. That benefit is based on the Social Security benefit the worker was receiving .
The benefit can be up to 100% of what your spouse would have received at full retirement. If the benefit you would receive as a survivor is higher than the benefit you receive on your own, Social Security will pay you the higher of the two amounts, not the two combined. However, survivor benefits, unlike spousal benefits, dont have to be claimed at the same time as your own retirement benefits. You can, in many cases, receive one benefit for a time and then file for the other one later. This is a common strategy for widows to take to maximize their benefits.
Did you Know?
The earliest a widow or widower can apply for survivor benefits is age 60 .
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What Are Ss Survivor Benefits
Social Security survivor benefits are available to spouses, ex-spouses, children and dependent parents of someone who worked and paid into the Social Security system. The amount depends on 1) the beneficiarys age, 2) their relationship to the deceased, and 3) the lifetime earnings of the deceased. The more the deceased worker earned, the higher the survivor benefits will be.
Survivors Benefits If You Have Children
If your spouse dies and you have children with them under the age of 16, then , you can receive up to 75% of your spouses benefit. Similarly, if your spouse has children under 16 by a previous marriage, that spouse may receive up to 75% of your spouses benefit. Also, each child, up to the age of 18, or 19 if still in secondary school or disabledmay also receive up to 75%.
The maximum a family can receive is up to 180% of the workers PIA. If ex-spouses receive benefits, it does not in any way impact the amount a current spouse will receive . However, if you qualify because you have the workers child in your care, your benefit will affect the amount of the benefits of others on the workers record.
If a spouse or former spouse is not caring for the children of the deceased worker, they may still apply for benefits on their own, if they are at least 60 .
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Survivor Benefits And Working
You can still earn wages while youre receiving survivors benefits. However, if you havent reached your full retirement age, some of your survivors benefits may be withheld. For 2020, $1 from your survivors benefits will be deducted for every $2 you earn above $18,240.
Note that only wages countpensions, interest, investment earnings, and other government benefits are not included in that annual limit.
How To Report A Death To Social Security
Before you can collect widows benefits, the death must be reported to the SSA. Funeral homes typically handle reporting of a death to the SSA. However, you will need to provide the funeral home with the deceaseds Social Security number for them to do so.
If you want to report the persons death yourself, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit a local Social Security office in person. Deaths cant be reported online.
Its best to report the death as soon as reasonably possible, since benefits start only after you apply.
If you were already receiving spousal benefits from Social Security, those benefits will be switched from spousal to survivors benefits. If you were receiving benefits based on your own work record, contact Social Security to see if youre eligible for higher benefits as a widow
How A Child Receives The $255 Social Security Death Benefit
The child of a deceased Social Security recipient can receive the payment if there is no eligible surviving spouse. The child would need to meet one of the following requirements:
- The child was receiving Social Security benefits on the deceaseds record during the month they died.
- That child became eligible for benefits when the individual passed away.
How Do You Set Money Aside For Your Funeral Expenses
Medicare doesnt have a program that lets you set up a burial account, but there might be a way to leave money for your loved ones that they might be able to use for your funeral expenses. Medicare Medical Savings Accounts are available through private health insurers who contract with Medicare. The Medical Savings Account plan will set you up with a medical savings account you can use to pay your health-care costs. These high-deductible plans let you designate a beneficiary. Depending on when the funds were deposited into your account, a portion of them may go to your beneficiary when you die.
If you enroll in a Medical Savings Account plan, you can ask your beneficiary to use any available leftover funds to pay for your funeral expenses.
To help pay for a loved ones funeral expenses, you might also want to check into any survivor benefits from any of these agencies as appropriate:
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Social Security Widow Benefits: What You Need To Know
Published by Matthew Jones –
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If you are concerned about your financial future in the wake of a spouses death, youll want to know about Social Security widow benefits. Also known as Social Security spousal survivor benefits, these funds help individuals supplement their income after their husband or wife passes away. For many people, Social Security widow and widower benefits are a vital lifeline during a very difficult time.
So, what are Social Security widow benefits? What kind of Social Security benefits do spouses get from each other? And finally, how can you apply for Social Security surviving spouse benefits? We will answer all of these questions and more, but first, lets look at how Social Security treats the spouse of a living Social Security beneficiary:
Social Security Benefits For Cremation
If your loved one has recently died, and youre wondering about the availability of Social Security benefits to cover the cost of cremation, the short answer is: Social Security does not pay for cremation or other funeral services. However, under some circumstances, you may be eligible to receive a one-time lump-sum death benefit to help cover cremation costs and end-of-life expenses. Alternately, some individuals are eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits after the death of a loved one.
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What Are Social Security Survivor Benefits
Social Security survivor benefits are payments that are made to eligible survivors of a deceased beneficiary.
Eligible survivors include:
- Widows and widowers age 60 or older
- Surviving divorced spouses
- Widows and widowers of any age who are caring for the deceaseds child who is under age 16 or disabled
- Unmarried children of the deceased who are under 18, or are 18 or over and disabled
- Stepchildren, grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and adopted children
- Parents aged 62 or older who were depending on the deceased for at least half their support
These payments can be made on a monthly basis with amounts based on the benefits the deceased beneficiary was receiving and their relationship to the survivor. Heres an overview of how survivor benefit amounts compare:
- Widows and widowers who are full retirement age or older may receive 100% of the deceased beneficiarys benefit amount.
- Widows and widowers age 60 up to full retirement age can receive 71.5% to 99% of the deceased beneficiarys amount.
- Disabled widows and widowers age 50 to 59 can receive 71.5% of the benefit amount.
- Widows and widowers caring for a child under 16 can receive 75% of the benefit amount.
- Children under age 18 or disabled can receive 75% of the benefit amount.
- Dependent parents aged 62 or older can receive 75% of the benefit amount each or 82.5% if only one parent survives.
Divorced surviving spouses are eligible to receive the same amounts as widows and widowers.
Survivors Benefits If You Are Divorced
An ex-spouse is eligible to receive the same benefits as a current spouse if they were married to the deceased worker for at least 10 years and are not currently married. However, if the living ex-spouse remarries before age 60, they forfeit their right to their deceased former spouses Social Securityunless that subsequent marriage ended in death, divorce, or annulment. If the living ex-spouse remarries after age 60, this rule doesnt apply.
How much a spouse or former spouse receives depends on several factors including when they file for benefits and whether they are still working and earning money.
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The History Of The Lump Sum Death Benefit
The Social Security Administration’s own historians shed some light on the origins of the lump sum death benefit and its evolution over time. In the original 1935 legislation that created Social Security, there were no ongoing survivor benefits for family members after a worker passed away. Therefore, the lump sum death benefit was added, equal to 3.5% of the deceased worker’s covered earnings. That worked out to a maximum amount of $315, although the average in the late 1930s was about $97.
When recurring survivor benefits got added to the program in 1940, the original variable lump sum death benefit was replaced with a one-time payment equal to six times the worker’s primary insurance amount. The intent was that the payment would help surviving family members who weren’t eligible for the new survivor benefits, and also to provide burial expenses for non-family members if there wasn’t anyone in the family to claim the lump sum. Payments ranged from $64 to $274, with the average being about $146.
Other Things You Need To Know
There are limits on how much survivors may earn while they receive benefits.
Benefits for a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse may be affected by several additional factors:
- If you remarry before you reach age 60 , you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married.
- If you remarry after you reach age 60 , you will continue to qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse’s Social Security record.
- If you receive benefits as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse.
- In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate.
- If you will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your Social Security benefits as a survivor may be affected.
However, if your current spouse is a Social Security beneficiary, you may want to apply for spouse’s benefits on their record. If that amount is more than your widow’s or widower’s benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.
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Retroactive Social Security Survivor Benefits
In some cases, the SSA may pay survivor benefits for months before you filed an application for benefits. Those situations include the following:
- Spouses younger than full retirement age who file for survivor benefits within one month of a spouse or ex-spouses death can receive one month of retroactive benefits.
- Widows or widowers who wait to file after they reach full retirement age can receive up to six months of retroactive benefits back to the month they reached full retirement age.
- Disabled widows and widowers who file before age 61 are eligible for up to 12 months of retroactive survivor benefits.
Social Security Survivor Benefits
Social Security survivor benefits are available to surviving spouses and their dependent or disabled children if the deceased spouse earned enough credits during working years. The number of credits needed depend on the decedent’s age at death. Younger people require fewer credits, but no one needs more than 40 credits, which is equivalent to 10 years of work. If you were divorced at the time of death, you may still qualify if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer.
An ex-spouse does not have to meet the length of marriage requirement if the ex-spouse is caring for the decedent’s child who is under the age of 16 or disabled. An unmarried child can receive benefits until age 18 or up to age 19 if still attending elementary or secondary school. If you have the worker’s dependent child, you are entitled to benefits right away. If you do not have dependent children, you can begin receiving reduced benefits at age 60 and full benefits at retirement age. If you are disabled, you can receive benefits at age 50.
Benefits Available To Children & Parents
Eligible spouses arent the only ones that can receive Social Security survivor benefits. Dependent children and parents may also be entitled.
If you want to learn more, here are the best resources on the topic:
Social Security Benefits for Dependent Parents -Article by Mike Piper, the author of Social Security Made Simple.
Why Do Funerals Cost So Much
The average funeral costs around $10,000. If you donât want to burden your family with this expense itâs necessary to have a plan.
Unless youâve planned a funeral, you probably arenât sure what the costs include. Hereâs a breakdown of funeral expenses with a brief explanation of each.
1. Funeral home
- Use of the funeral home for viewing and ceremony: $595-$915
- A âbasic servicesâ fee: $1,800-$2,000
2. Removal and transfer of remains
- Transporting the deceased: $320-$725
3. Embalming and other preparations
- Body embalming: around $695
- Other body preparations: around $250
4. Hearse and car services
- Hearse: $275-$32
6. Casket and burial vault
- Casket liner: $700-$1,000
- Burial vault: $900-$13,000
- Casket: $2,000-$10,000
We always want the best for our loved ones, but elaborate caskets can cost $35,000 or more.
- $1,500-$3,000 if done through a crematory
- $2,000-$4,000 if done through the funeral home
- Floral tributes or wreath: $100 or more
- Casket sprays: more than $700
9. Catering/Food: this is often done through your church or friends, but if not, it can cost several hundred dollars to feed everyone
10. Obituaries: if not included in the funeral home basic fees, it runs $200-$500
11. Gravestone/Grave marker
- Grave markers: $95-$1,000
- Upright stones: $1,000-$10,000