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Ask Lane Your Own Question
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 12690
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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I've collected SS benefits since my husband retired about 5

Customer Question

I've collected SS benefits since my husband retired about 5 years ago. He died 2 days ago. What do I need to do?
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Please tell me more, so we can help you best.
Customer: I do not have a job. I am 69 years old. I now live in Middletown, MD.
JA: Is there anything else the Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: Like what?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 2 months ago.

Hi. My name's Lane. I'm sorry for your loss.


If you, or a family member, provided a death certificate to the funeral home, they likely reported the death itself.


And whether you need to do anything to claim the survivor benefit, typically depends on whether you were already receiving a spousal benefit against your husband's work record.


If you were getting a benefit based on your own work, then you'll need to file for the survivor benefit (by calling and setting an appointment to go into the local office OR sending in the documents the phone rep tells you that you need to send (based on what they pull up and already have for you).


But again, you can either set an appointment on that call and take the documentation into the office OR do the application over the phone and send in the documents (such as a marriage certificate ... again depending on what they tell you they already have).


However, if you were receiving a SPOUSAL benefit on your HUSBAND's work record, your starting the survivor benefits will be automatic.


See this from Social Security (I'll underline the pertinent part)


What will happen when I report a death?

  • If you are getting benefits on your spouse's or parent's record:
    • You generally will not need to file an application for survivors’ benefits.
    • We'll automatically change any monthly benefits you receive to survivor benefits after we receive the report of death.
    • We may be able to pay the Special Lump-Sum Death Payment automatically.
Expert:  Lane replied 2 months ago.

If you'd like to make sure that the funeral home reported the death, by calling 1-***-***-****, you can speak to a Social Security representative ... (Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday) ... between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Please let me know if you have ANY questions at all, before rating me.

If this has helped, and you DON’T have other questions … I'd appreciate a positive rating (using the stars or faces on your screen, and then clicking “submit")

That’s the only way will compensate me for the work here.



I hold a law degree (J.D.), with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA in finance, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS (Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist) designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice on three continents since 1986.