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Social Security Benefits for Your Family after Your Death

Social Security is there for you and your family members when you need it and there for your survivors after you die. A number of people don’t realize they are entitled to benefits after their loved one has passed away. This particular article will outline who is entitled to what benefits from the SSA or Social Security Administration after a beneficiary has died. These are generally referred to as survivor benefits.

Social Security is a safety net lots of people use after they retire. However, everyone is not aware of the benefits that are available for their survivors after they die. It can provide a much needed income to family members when you can no longer do so.

Certain members of a Social Security recipient’s family have the right to benefits after they pass away. Survivor benefits are there for much needed income for a number of families. Entitlement is based on a recipient’s earnings record and a number of people are completely unaware. Having this additional income makes a substantial difference in living and an eligible family should know who does and does not quality for these benefits available for a beneficiary’s survivors.

SSA benefits are paid to the following eligible recipients if you worked, had enough work credits and paid Social Security taxes before you died;

Your Widow or Widower
A spouse at any age can receive benefits if you have a dependent child under the age of 16 or a disabled child. Without dependent children under the age of 16 a widow or widow will be eligible when they are receiving SSA benefits.

Your Dependent children
Benefits from SSA are paid to unmarried children under the age of 18 or under the age of 19 if they are still full time students and still in high school. Unmarried dependent children that are disabled are entitled regardless of their age.

Dependent with parents at least 62 years old
Dependent parents at least age 62 will have Social Security benefits eligibility.

Even an ex-spouse will get benefits from Social Security if they are caring for your children still under 16 years old. These are paid to the ex-spouse for the child’s welfare and care.

How much will they receive?
The amount of money a spouse or family will get rests on several factors. A monthly benefit is based on lifetime earnings you paid in. A percentage of a basic Social Security lifetime earnings is paid and determined by the age and relationship of the survivor to you.

There is a maximum amount a family will be given each month. A rate is capped by the total amount that all survivors combined obtain from the SSA. The total family benefits received each month cannot exceed the limit or cap. If the limit is exceeded, each family member will have their payments reduced proportionately until any overpayment has been received back. Going forward benefits will be adjusted to the correct amount.

Lump sum benefit
A lump sum benefit is there for a spouse if enough work credits have been accumulated over a lifetime of working. This lump sum amount is $255. A spouse, not ex-spouse, must be living with you at the time of death or be receiving SSA aid based on your earnings record if you are not living together.

Anyone not married at the time of their death will have a lump sum benefit split among any eligible dependent children. Ex-spouses do not qualify for a lump sum benefit.

Already receiving payments from SSA
Spouses already receiving SSA payments are still eligible for these funds based on a spouse’s earnings record after they die. Children already being paid this type of aid are also entitled after a parent’s death.

Anyone not already getting disbursements from SSA or getting a check from SSA on their own earnings record will need to apply for survivor eligibility to find out if they qualify.

What you need to apply
Applications should be done at your local SSA office.

1. A death certificate is necessary or other legal document proving death. You can contact the funeral home for a notice if necessary.
2. Social security numbers for the deceased as well as any children that will be getting assistance. Your social security number is also needed.
3. A marriage certificate is necessary for widows and widowers
4. Birth certificates for everyone applying
5. Divorce papers will be needed in some circumstances. If these are necessary the SSA office will advise you
6. The name of the financial institution for direct deposit
7. The deceased most recent tax return or W-2

In conclusion
Social security survivor benefits eligibility is influenced by on a number of considerations. However, if you believe you are entitled, check with the Social Security Administration for more details.

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