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.
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I wish you the best in 2013,