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Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 10108
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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In Feb 2014, I received an increase in benefits because of

Customer Question

In Feb 2014, I received an increase in benefits because of the death of my former spouse...who was very well off at his death. How can I check to see if I am receiving all due me? I have never remarried...and raised our 7 children on my own. My spouse: James C Cohig, SS####-##-####..Mine: Michele A Cohig, SS#346266747. I am currently receiving just under $3000.00 per month after Medicare is deducted. I need to be sure because raising the children took most of what I had in funds...and I am 82 and cannot work any longer.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 4 months ago.

Hi,

...

FIrst of all, you can reality check this by knowing that the survivor benefit is (for anyone over their full retirement age) 100% of the decedent's benefit.

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So, if your benefit was raised TO the amount that he was receiving, this is correct.

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See this from Social Security here: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10084.pdf (I'll underline the pertinent part)

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"Social Security uses the deceased worker’s basic benefit amount to calculate the percentage survivors can get. The percentage depends on the survivor’s age and relationship to the worker.

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If the worker who died was getting reduced benefits, we’ll base your survivor’s benefit on that amount. In most typical claims for benefits:

A widow or widower, at full retirement age or older, generally gets 100 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount;

• A widow or widower, age 60 or older, but under full retirement age, gets about 71-99 percent of the worker’s basic benefit amount; or

• A widow or widower, any age, with a child younger than age 16, gets 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount;

• A child gets 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount.

Expert:  Lane replied 4 months ago.

Also, it's important to understand that benefits cannot be "stacked." (meaning that if any new benefit becomes available, such as this survivor benefit, any benefit you may be receiving at the time will be raised TO that higher benefit (rather than being "stacked" in top of your existing benefit)

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See this form Social Security: (here: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html#&a0=0)

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"If you qualify for benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you'll get an additional amount on your spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount."

Expert:  Lane replied 4 months ago.

Does this help?

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