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keeperumiami, Senior Tax Expert & Financial Planner
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 7197
Experience:  Sr Tax Expert/Financial PlannerCPA/PFS (retired)Over forty years of advising individuals & small businesses
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My husband passed away on 9-7-2017. I don't know if it has

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My husband passed away on 9-7-2017. I don't know if it has been reported to SS or not. I think the funeral home did, but not sure.
JA: The Retirement Accountant will know how to help. Please tell me more, so we can help you best.
Customer: He died as the result of a riding lawn mower accident at our home. Also was wanting to know if I qualify for any portion of his social security benefits.
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. Is there anything else important you think the Retirement Accountant should know?
Customer: I have no idea, but if you know of something I should tell him, that would be good.

Hello, my name is***** goal is to give you a complete & accurate answer. I am working on your request now & I will respond as soon as possible.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.

First of all my condolences on the tragic loss of your husband. I know that this is a difficult time for you and I'll try my best to assist you.

The first thing that you may want to do is to check with the Funeral Director to see if he has notified Social Security of your husband's date of death. Many times, (if not most) funeral directors information the Social Security Administration (SSA) of the decedent's date of death without notifying the Surviving Spouse or next of kin.

If you find that the notification has been made, that's one thing you won't have to do. If not, you can call the SSA yourself at(###) ###-#### Often, calling that number results in extended "hold times" (over 30 to 45 minutes), and there's no guarantee that you'll get through at all.

If you encounter that issue, I would contact your local SSA office and make the notification that way. Here's a link where using your Zipcode, you can locate the local SSA office and a direct telephone number for them.

I'll continue with my comments, but wanted to get this information to your first.


As you may know, Social Security benefits are paid 1 month in arrears on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Wednesday of the month, depending upon your date of birth.

Therefore, based upon your husband's date of death on 9/7/2017, the payment received in September (for August) does not have to be returned to Social Security. However, since you must be alive for the entire month in order to be eligible for benefits for that month, any payment of your husband's benefits made in October (for September) would have to be returned.

You didn't indicate your age or whether or not you are currently receiving retirement benefits based upon your own earnings record or Spousal benefits based upon your husband's earnings record. Presuming for the moment that you are currently receiving Spousal benefits, you are now entitled to Survivor's benefits which will equate to your husband's full retirement benefit that he was receiving.

Since you can only receive retirement benefits based upon 1 earnings record at a time, you will receive only the Survivor's benefit, instead of the Spousal benefits you may currently be receiving.

The best way to proceed to file for your Survivor's benefits, is to make an appointment with your local SSA office and apply for your Survivor's benefits in person. That way, a Benefits Counselor will be able to answer any questions you have and explain exactly how your Survivor's benefits are determined. You will want to mention what you are making the appointment for so that the local office can tell you what you need in terms of documentation in order to confirm your identity (driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc.) as well as a copy of your husband's death certificate, and any additional documentation of your marriage.

You will want to make an appointment rather than just "walking in" to your local office, as if you were to do that, the waiting time can be extensive and you may not be assigned an experienced Benefit's Counselor that you normally would with an appointment. Also, if there is a family member, a trusted advisor or close friend available to attend the meeting with you, that is a good idea as given the timing, the circumstances, etc., it is always better to have two people listening and making notes, which is valuable assistance at this difficult time.

Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions that I can answer for you.

Please remember to rate my response.

Thanks very much,

Steve G.

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