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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37048
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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What happens when a person dies who has been taking full SS

This answer was rated:

What happens when a person dies who has been taking full SS benefits and his wife and ex-wife have been taking SS benefits based on his income? Do their benefits automatically go up?

Good morning Julie,

I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

When a husband is taking his retirement benefit, and his wife is taking a spouse benefit on his lifetime earnings, and then the husband dies, the surviving wife automatically qualifies for a survivor benefit.

The survivor benefit is 100% of the amount that the husband was receiving on his death. So, instead of getting a benefit of 50% or less than her husband, she will now get his full benefit which will be at least double her previous benefit.

All she needs to do is notify social security of his death and ask for her survivor benefit. She will have to show a copy of the death certificate, and that is about all.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed.


I wish you the best in 2013,

Doug

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My mother is his ex-wife and her benefits (which were being taken based on his income) more than doubled after he died. She has automatic deposit for the SS checks. She never contacted the SS to notify them about anything, but I assume my step-mother (his wife at the time of his death did). I am not clear on your answer. First, would my mother (his ex-wife) also receive a death benefit? Is there a scenario where her benefits could have doubled when he died?

Good morning Julie,

Unless your mother remarried before age 60, she will be entitled to a survivor benefit as well. And her benefit will be the same as the widow's. And neither of their survivor benefits have any impact on each other's benefits.

If your step mother notified SSA of your father's death and provided the death certificate, that was all they needed to increase your mother's benefit. So they did so without her asking.

A death benefit is a single payment of $225.00. The spouse at death would receive that.

Your mother's benefits DID double---or more than double--- when he died---you told me that. That was because she was converted to the survivor benefit. There are no additional benefits for your mother as a result of her ex-husband's death.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed.

I wish you the best in 2013,

Doug
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, thank you.


 


So there is a survivor benefit and my mother is now receiving 100% of my father's benefit.


 


There is also a "death" benefit of $225 and she is not "eligible" for that.


 


If this is correct, please let me know. 2 other attorneys have not been able to answer this question! However, I am sure I was not clear. Thank you very much!

Good morning,

There is just one death benefit payable, Julie---and it goes to the next of kin---in this case his present wife at time of death.


So there is a survivor benefit and my mother is now receiving 100% of my father's benefit. Yes.



There is also a "death" benefit of $225 and she is not "eligible" for that. Correct.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your kind words. They are appreciated. Please keep in mind that until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be credited with helping you.

Thanks again.

Have a great day,

Doug

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Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Julie. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise.

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Thanks again.

Doug

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